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  Reptiles

The island is home to the rarely spotted lethal, luminous green viper (lelipi gadang) identified by the red in its tail. Bali's other snake, the 'ular sawah', is brown and nonpoisonous. There are also crooning frogs, lucinea spiders which build their webs along paths (if they bite you, your head aches for three days), fireflies, butterflies, crickets, poisonous scorpions (rare), and huge black, harmless beetles that thud off your hotel walls trying to find a way out.

Children catch dragonflies on long, glue-tipped bamboo poles, then thread them like sate on strings to take home and deep-fry in oil for a crispy, protein-rich delicacy.

Cicadas are the multitudinous unseen chorus to all Balinese nights. Bats can be seen at Goa Lawah cave east of Klungkung; they also emerge all over Bali at dusk to feed.

What do you call an Indonesian lizard with a loud voice? A gecko blaster. The lovable gecko-'cicak' in Indonesian-is about 15 cm long, has a tiny alabaster body and beady eyes, screeches "tsk-tsk," and scampers upside down on any surface with the use of vibrations from its pudgy toes. The bottoms of their feet resemble the gills of fish. It's believed that if a gecko chirps while someone is talking it means that person is telling the truth. Geckos make cheap pets because you don't have to feed them-they eat each other.

A nontoxic lizard called 'alu', reaching one meter in length, waits on riverbanks to snatch passing ducks. To "witness man's bravery with live crocodiles and snakes" pay a visit to the Ayung Reptile Park near Sanur. Performances given twice daily (0900 and 1700), plus there's a collection of reptiles from all over the Indonesian archipelago.

The 'tokay' lizard, often heard but rarely seen, emits a wonderfully ear-curling, indescribable ratchet windup sound followed by a series of "BO" croaks never forgotten once heard. Each time the 'tokay' croaks, the sound gets a little softer, deeper, and slower, as his wind runs out. The Balinese believe that anyone who hears a lizard moan nine times will receive good luck. They can croak up to 30 times-at the drop of a hat gamblers will bet on how many. Up to 45 cm long, with deep orange spots, they can eat mice and baby birds.

'Tokays' defecate black cigar-shaped droppings from the same spot on the ceiling everyday and can only be discouraged by attaching or hoisting mothballs up to the spot.

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