Critters at the climbing crag
The last week we spent climbing at the crazy horse crag, situated 30km away from Chiang Mai. The rock is often overhanging with large tufas and numerous holes to hang on to. However, after seeing some of the insects at and around the walls, I was not always so keen to stick my hand into dark and deep holes. Here's a selection:
Bees - At the crag, the bees either build large and imposing hives or small tunnel hives. We avoided climbing next to the large bee hives due to obvious reasons, but were often surprised to see the diversity of other smaller hives. The small sting-less bees were very common and actually look quite cute. However, they really like sweat, so at some of the less visited climbing areas we were swarmed by these bees, who all tried to lick the sweat off our body.
Wasps - The wasps we saw were solitary ones who never gave us any trouble. On the way up to the crag, we saw this spider wasp carrying away a large spider. The spider wasp hunts spiders to provide its larvae with enough food for its development.
Spiders - On this trip we have seen numerous different spider species, of which I hope most are not poisonous. Some less frequented climbing crags are sometimes covered with spider webs, but don't worry. Once they sense you coming, they normally flee.
Antlions - The predatory larvae of the antlion wait at the bottom of cone-like pits dug into soft sand. At the bottom of the walls, the ground is often composed of very fine sand, perfect for the antlion larvae. To most climbers, the cones look like water drop formations, however at the bottom of each cone, a small antlion is waiting for an insect to fall into its trap.
Scorpions - One morning, we started cycling towards the climbing crag, when we spotted a large scorpion on the road. It was probably hit by a scooter and one of its pedipalps is missing. We never saw a live one, but crawling into the tent that evening, we checked carefully for scorpions underneath the pillow.
Despite all the little crawlers, we had a lot of fun and can really recommend climbing in Thailand!