Friday, May 16, 2008

Discovery @ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Fifty Ninth Discovery Posting:

During this week, I was at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) almost everyday, from Tuesday (13 May) till today (16 May). Why was I there? It was to guide different groups of students from two different schools, Queensway Secondary and Qihua Primary school.

Anyway, for people who wants to find out more about the reserve, you may visit their website @

In this posting, I'm going to share some of the fauna I saw over these few days.

First 'discovery' is a Malayan water monitor which can be seen if you're lucky (picture below)Discovery Note:
1. Monitors can survive in habitats that wouldn't be able to support other large carnivores as they are cold blooded, that's why they need to bask in the sun.
2. In addition, they eat anything that they can swallow. From tiny insects, to crabs, molluscs, snakes, eggs (of birds and crocodiles) and even other monitor lizards. They even eat rubbish, human faeces, and even dead bodies.

3. The Water Monitor's main hunting technique is to run after prey that it has spotted, rather than stalking and ambushing.
4. Water Monitor Lizards are highly mobile. They can swim, run faster than most of us can run and even climb trees.

5. Like snakes, they have a forked tongue that they stick in and out regularly to "smell" their prey and other tasty titbits.

Second 'discovery' is harder to spot, because usually you will need to listen hard to locate where they are and then look hard to pinpoint their exact location. A cicada (picture below)!
Discovery Note:
1. Cicadas make one of the loudest sounds in the forests.
2. Only males cicadas make the distinctive sound, they make the sound to attract female cicadas to mate with them.

When one walk around the reserve, we advise either silence or to talk very softy if you need. Why? Cause if you make too much noise, you will rouse the third 'discovery' and they will run away. What am i talking about? A Plantain squirrel is what i am talking about(picture below)!
Discovery Note:
1. Plantain squirrels eat mainly fruits and nuts but also snack on insects and other titbits that they come across including bird eggs
2. Plantain squirrels forage mostly in trees and undergrowth and rarely come to the ground.
3. They are active during the day, more so in the morning and evening.
4. They rest in hollow trees and some construct a nest out of leaves and twigs, in tree branches or large bushes.
5. To find out more about the plantain squirrel, click here.

And sometimes if you're really lucky and sharped-eyed, you might spot the fourth 'discovery'. A stork-billed kingfisher (picture below)!
Discovery Note:
1. Stork-billed Kingfishers are the largest Kingfishers found in Singapore.
2. They are rarely sighted because they are shy and less noisy than other Kingfishers.
3. Stork-billed Kingfishers eat mainly fishes, using their large heavy bills to good effect to catch and kill their prey.
4. Want to find out more about them, click here.

And if you are really really very lucky, you will get to see... can you spot it? Let's take a closer look (picture below). A crocodile! Fifth 'discovery'.
Discovery Note:
1. Crocodiles are large aquatic reptiles that live throughout the tropics in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia.
2. They feed mostly on vertebrates like fish, reptiles, and mammals, sometimes on invertebrates like mollusks and crustaceans, depending on species.
3. They are an ancient lineage, and are believed to have changed little since the time of the dinosaurs. They are believed to be 200 million years old whereas dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago
4. Crocodiles are ambush hunters, waiting for fish or land animals to come close, then rushing out to attack.
5. As cold-blooded predators, they are lethargic, therefore survive long periods without food, and rarely need to actively go hunting.

It was a great experience, going to SBWR for four days straight! Thanks to all students who were in my groups, I hope all of you have had a great time too! =)

1 comment:

Ivan said...

Oh my goodness! You saw a crocodile! *is envious*