Sunday, December 8, 2013

Families enjoying day out at Chek Jawa, 7 Dec, with the Crabs

We had a perfect day - cool and dry weather - exploring the mangroves in Chek Jawa Boardwalk yesterday together with 60 visitors, and MOS Desmond Lee and his youth group of about 30.

No otters, no dugong, no hornbill, but there were wonderful sightings of interesting crabs, stick insect, paradise tree snake, white-bellied sea-eagle, swimming crab, snails and wild boars. Most importantly, it is a joy to see families enjoying and connecting with nature. Chek Jawa remains a favourite place for Singaporeans to stay in touch with nature.

Face-banded sesamine crab
There were so many colourful little crabs in the back mangroves yesterday. The kids were so excited spotting them.
Tiny crabs with red stalk eyes

Thursday, December 5, 2013

14 Dec (Sat): Free evening tour for families at Pasir Ris mangroves

It's the school holidays, and we usually try to squeeze in a nature outing to Pasir Ris Mangroves for the families. Great news! We are organising a public walk on 14 December!

Pasir Ris Mangroves is an awesome place for mangrove wildlife, and it's easy to forget just how close the mangroves are to the HDB estate and MRT station! It is a cool place to look at giant mudskippers, crabs, birds, squirrels, jellyfishes, monitor lizards, even snakes! Come join us for this outing, but you have to register first! Click here for the online registration form. Oh, have I told you the walk is FREE? Yes, free. It's our way to reach out to everyone and show them the awesome wildlife we have in our own backyard.

Date: 14 December, 2013 (Saturday)

Time: 5 pm (We should end around 6.30pm, just before sunset.)

Meeting point: Pasir Ris Park, Carpark C. Meet near the first toilets nearest the entrance to the carpark. The meeting point is a short stroll from the Pasir Ris MRT station. Pasir Ris is a very long park with many carparks (from A to D). Do look at the map to be sure you are heading for the correct carpark, Carpark C.

Click here for the Online Registration Form

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Announcement: Chek Jawa Boardwalk trips in November and December

Hi friends of the Crabs, we are pleased to announce the 2 public walk dates for November and December. Do join us to explore the mangrove region of Chek Jawa from the safety and comfort of the boardwalk. We welcome visitors of all ages as long as you're able to walk 2 km with us on a boardwalk.

Chek Jawa is rich in plant and animal life. The volunteer guides, including several student leaders from Dunman High, should be able to show you lots of interesting animals in the mangroves. On a typical outing to Chek Jawa, one should be able to easily spot mudskippers, tree-climbing crabs, fiddler crabs, snails, bugs, monitor lizards, kingfishers and even snakes. Of course, sometimes we can get really lucky with sightings such as otters, white-bellied sea eagles, Oriental-pied hornbills, woodpeckers. No trip is ever alike, and that's the fun of it all. The kids, in particular, are excellent in spotting animals. So kids, you have some work to do when you come for one of our 'Crabby' walks. Just like last month, we would not have spotted the otter if not for the keen eye of one of the kids. Read about the awesome walk in October.

Our outings are fun and educational although a tad tiring. Come prepared for both hot and wet weather. It is always nice to get out of the city to enjoy the natural woodlands in Pulau Ubin. Make an effort too to understand nature conservation issues, especially because we all live in an urbanised country, and we tend to lose an understanding of what it means to share our space with animals, plants and natural habitats.

Dates: 2 November and 7 December (Saturdays)
Time: 9:30am
Duration: 2 hours
Meeting place: Chek Jawa Information Kiosk, Pulau Ubin
Charge: Free

Click here to get to our online signup page. We will give you a confirmation by email. Do be patient with us as replies may be delayed. If you have questions, feel free to write to us at

Do read on to find out what you need to do to prepare for the walk....

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dugong and more at Chek Jawa!

Yesterday's public walk at Chek Jawa was awesome! There were sightings of the white-bellied sea eagle, otter and.... a dugong!

Gosh... it was so exciting, I don't even know where to begin describing the sighting! The last group (Ian Siah with his family and friends, and Bernadette and friend) led by Leykun saw the dugong swimming in the area between the Chek Jawa front beacon and the coastal boardwalk. 

We first saw a large pinkish-brown animal with a large strong tail moved just about 25m in front of us. We shouted "Dugong!" and fumbled for our cameras. By that time, the dugong sank into the water and we could not see it any more. There were large ripples around. Half a minute later, it surfaced again, and its large body and tail still visible. We could tell the animal does not have a dorsal fin. It was slow-moving, certainly not traveling fast in the water. It disappeared from sight after a few seconds. All of us hung around hoping for another glimpse of the elusive animal. And it came back, 8 minutes later (according to the timestamp on our photos), and at a location further to the right. Here are the photos contributed by Leykun and Ian.

timestamp 11:28:12
11:28:53 AM
11:28:53 AM

11:28:54 AM
11:36:11 AM
(photo contributed by Ian Siah)
Chek Jawa has excellent seagrass meadows in the inter-tidal region, so we are not surprised at all to see a dugong in the waters off Chek Jawa although we all know just how elusive it is. The wildsingapore website has a good writeup about dugongs, what they eat, and their status and threats to survival. Do have a read.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Free public walk at Chek Jawa Boardwalk - 5th Oct 2013 (Sat)

We are looking forward to another great outing to Chek Jawa Boardwalk on 5th October, 2013, Singapore!

Sign up with us, and our volunteer guides will take you around Chek Jawa on the boardwalk. We will walk about 1.1 km on the boardwalk, climb up a 20m high viewing tower (Jejawi Tower) for a panoramic view of the surroundings, and then end off with a drawing/sketching session at the English Cottage.

The biodiversity at Chek Jawa is rich. The boardwalk runs through the mangrove as well as the coastal regions. You should be able to see interesting plants and animals. There are many species of mudskippers, fiddler crabs, tree-climbing crabs, monitor lizards and even snakes. Chek Jawa is also rich in bird life. There are frequent sightings of hornbills, white-bellied sea eagles, herons, woodpeckers, sharmas, kingfishers and at this time of the year, migratory shorebirds at low tide.

orange fiddler crabs on the mudflats
We have volunteer guides who give their time for free to show the visitors around. We do this as an educational outreach to Singaporeans and residents, to show them the rich natural heritage that is in our own 'backyard'.

families exploring Chek Jawa from the mangrove boardwalk
Date: 5 October, 2013 (Saturday)
Time: 9:30 for 2 hours
Meeting place: Chek Jawa Boardwalk on Pulau Ubin
Cost: free

Click here to sign up online. We will give you a confirmation by email. If you have questions, write to us at

For more information on Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin, how to get there and other Really Useful Information, please read this blog post:

Hope to see you soon!

Enjoy the rest of the photos taken at our walks in 2013.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

6th year anniversary walk

We held our anniversary walk at Chek Jawa Boardwalk two weeks ago. It's our 6th anniversary! Time does fly.

We love Chek Jawa with all its natural splendor - forests, inter-tidal ecosystems, animals, birds, insects, fishes - so we are not going to let this outing pass without at least a post on our blog!

Here's the Big Group photo that we always take at the start of the walk. We didn't have that many visitors, somewhere around 30 visitors. But we had lots of guides that day. There's Pei Yan, Sankar, Ria, Yin Xin, Daniel, Kok Sheng and me (leykun). Kok Sheng had 5 of his students from Dunman High join us too. We all had a great time!

(what's Pei Yan looking at through her binoculars?)
Catherine who first met us at the Festival of Biodiversity in July came with her family too. Hi!

A quick introduction and briefing from the guides before we set off. We always ask our visitors to keep a lookout for animals and plants, and point them to us. It's an interactive exchange between guides and visitors. Sometimes, our visitors have lots of interesting stories to tell us too. We are constantly learning about nature from one another.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Family fun exploring Pasir Ris mangroves

There's so much to see and discover at Pasir Ris mangroves, just minutes from the MRT station. Bugs literally show up on our hand, as Ian shows.
Although we had only a small group of families (it's exam period?), they were most enthusiastic and great spotters. So we saw the owl, snakes, flying lizard and lots of other interesting animals.

Monday, September 9, 2013

14 Sep (Sat): Free evening tour for families at Pasir Ris mangroves

Specially for families and kids! Come for a cool evening walk to spot crabs, giant mudskippers, birds and more!
These mangroves are just a short walk from Pasir Ris MRT station. The tour is FREE, but please register online.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Chek Jawa Boardwalk Anniversary trip on 7th Sep (Sat)

We're almost in September, and time to get out to Chek Jawa Boardwalk for our monthly free nature walk.

And guess what! We're celebrating 6 years, yes, SIX YEARS, of monthly nature walks (with a break here and there) by the Naked Hermit Crabs at our favourite natural but vulnerable coast! Has it been 6 years? Absolutely. Go check the blog post of our first guided walk at Chek Jawa: First NHC Guided Walk at Chek Jawa Boardwalk, dated 8 September 2007.

First Chek Jawa Boardwalk outing by NHC in September 2007
So, come on down and join us at this anniversary walk.

Date: 7 September, 2013 (Saturday)
Time: 9:30 am for 2 hours
Meeting place: Chek Jawa Information Kiosk at Pulau Ubin
Charge: Still free!

If you are new to Chek Jawa, here's what you can expect to see in the mangroves and coastal areas.
- Lots of mudskippers and tree-climbing crabs.
- coastal forests, mangrove trees, fig trees, nipah palms
- mud lobster mounds
- fiddler crabs
- insects such as weaver ants, stink bugs, stick insects, cotton stainer bugs.
- reptiles, i.e. snakes, water monitor lizards, changeable lizards
- birds, such as the Oriental Pied Hornbills, eagles, sharmas, bulbuls, tailor birds, flowerpeckers, sunbirds.

This tour is kid-friendly, so bring your families.

Now for the important bit... how do I sign up? We have an online registration form. Sign up and we will send you a confirmation after that.

For more information on Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin, how to get there and other useful information, please read this post

Or contact us at

See you soon!


otters (year 2012)

Oriental Whip

tree-climbing crab

on the mangrove boardwalk

on the coastal boardwalk

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Crabs, stink bugs and ... a cobra!

The Crabs spent a delightful Saturday morning on 3 August exploring Chek Jawa Wetlands with 45 visitors. This is one of our monthly scheduled public walks on the boardwalk where we take time out to share the lovely Chek Jawa mangroves and coastal areas with members of the public, so that they gain a better understanding of our local plant and animal biodiversity. Many came with their children. It's great! They expressed that they do not want their children to grow up without gaining respect and appreciation for nature. Three cheers for these wonderful mamas and papas!!!

In addition, we hosted some student leaders who are keen to advocate greater awareness of environmental and conservation issues. Eight of them are from CHIJ Katong Convent, while four are from Raffles Institution. They came to understand how nature guiding works.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chek Jawa Boardwalk - sign up for walk on 3 August (Sat)

Another monthly walk is creeping up on us, and it is time to open the registration. Yay!

If you are new to the work that the Naked Hermit Crabs do, we run a monthly free walk to Chek Jawa Boardwalk as part of our nature outreach program to the public. Chek Jawa is part of a natural wetlands area located on the eastern tip of Pulau Ubin, just off Changi Point. We will bring you out on the boardwalk that passes through mangroves. The boardwalk also loops around the coast of Chek Jawa, allowing the visitors to view the inter-tidal area without getting their feet wet. That's right, we will not be going down to the mudflat and sand bar itself.

Chek Jawa has amazing rich biodiversity. On a typical boardwalk outing, we should be able to see animals such as fiddler crabs, tree-climbing crabs, many species of mudskippers, kingfishers, fishes, jellyfishes, monitor lizards, weaver ants and many other types of insects too. If we are lucky, we might even spot snakes, White-bellied Sea Eagles, herons, Oriental Pied Hornbills, and who knows, perhaps the otters that live in Chek Jawa might reveal themselves to us!

Date: 3 August 2013 (Saturday)
Time: 9:30am
Meeting place: Chek Jawa Information Kiosk, Pulau Ubin
Duration of walk: 2 hours (approximately)
Charge: None. You just have to pay for your transport to get to Chek Jawa.

Online registration form: CLICK HERE

Email us if you have questions:

We are able to answer emails only during the weekends. We are volunteers; this is not a full-time business!

For more information on Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin, how to get to Chek Jawa, and what to prepare for the trip, please click on this post: CLICK HERE

Monday, July 15, 2013

Crabs at the Festival of Biodiversity!

President Tony Tan visited the Festival and the Crabs take the opportunity to share about the important aspects of our biodiversity. Heng Pei Yan managed to get a smile out of him by showing him how the dugong leaves a feeding trail in our seagrass meadows.
Mama Crab Wong Ley Kun together with Ivan Kwan also met with the President for a short while. They took the opportunity also to share about the work done by the Naked Hermit Crabs.
The Crabs worked very hard during the Festival to reach out to families, kids and others at VivoCity.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

WACKY CRAZY Festival of Biodiversity this weekend!

Dear friends of the Naked Hermit Crabs,

If you're coming to the Festival of Biodiversity held at VivoCity this weekend (13-14 July), do drop by the marine exhibition to say Hello! We'd love to see as many of you come and visit. You'll get to meet lots of people passionate about nature conservation in Singapore.

(photos by Ria Tan)

Many of the volunteers have spent the past few weekends preparing for the festival. There will be beautiful photos to admire, interactive games to play, and lots of information to be shared with you. We had a fantastic Festival of Biodiversity in 2012, and this year, the festival promises to be even more exciting. The venue, VivoCity, is a dream! We simply want to reach out to more people and tell them about the amazing wildlife that we have in Singapore.

Volunteers from the following community will be at the Marine Exhibition of the Festival:

Mangrove Action Squad
Hantu Bloggers
Blue Water Volunteers
Mega Marine Survey
The Leafmonkey Workshop
International Coastal Cleanup Singapore
Naked Hermit Crabs

How to spot the nature volunteers this weekend? Easy! We will all be wearing the cutest, wickedest, funniest soft-toy mascots. These mascots represent many of the species of animals that can be found in Singapore. Somehow, I get this warm fuzzy feeling that this is going to be a WACKY CRAZY Celebration of our cherished biodiversity in Singapore! Definitely looking forward to the two days.

Here's a sneak preview of some of the mascots that we made and will be wearing.

So, here are the dates again: 13-14 July (Saturday, Sunday) at VivoCity

More information can be found in the official Festival of Biodiversity website

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Chek Jawa Boardwalk outing on 6 July, Saturday, is confirmed

The monthly outing to Chek Jawa Boardwalk on 6th July, Saturday, is proceeding as planned.

Unfortunately we are unable to accept more visitors currently as we already have a huge list carried forward from June. We would love to bring every single one of you to visit Chek Jawa Boardwalk with us, but we are a small voluntary group, and we do need to keep the group to a manageable size. Do visit our blog again and sign up for another month. As a general rule, we open registration of the next walk as soon as we complete the current one.

For our visitors who have confirmed with us for the walk on 6 July, here are the meeting details:

Date: 6 July 2013 (Saturday)
Time: 9:30 am
Duration: 2 hours
Meeting Place: Chek Jawa Information Kiosk, Pulau Ubin
Charge: FREE

If you have questions, please write to us at, but do expect a delay in receiving a reply as we are able to attend to our emails only at night and during the weekend.

Chek Jawa Wetlands is a much-loved natural shore, home to diverse plant and animal life. It remains vulnerable as all natural shores are, to the risk of development and spread of the urban sprawl. Our monthly tour brings you on the boardwalk, where we are able to see animals such as fiddler crabs, spiders, mudskippers, tree-climbing crabs, monitor lizards, to name a few. And if we are slightly luckier, we should be able to spot wild boars, hornbills, eagles, herons on the sandflats, and jellyfishes in the sea too. It's amazing to see the rich biodiversity!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Festival of Biodiversity, 13-14 July, VivoCity

The Festival of Biodiversity is back again, and we just want to celebrate Singapore's rich biodiversity in our nature places with you!

This year, the festival will be held at VivoCity, and the organisers hope to reach out to more Singaporeans and residents. The festival is an annual event organised by the National Parks Board in collaboration with the Biodiversity Roundtable. Click here for the website for the Festival of Biodiversity 2013.

Date: 13 and 14 July, 2013 (Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 10am to 10pm
Venue: VivoCity, Level 1, Central Court B and West Boulevard

The Naked Hermit Crabs are participating in this festival. We will be at VivoCity to celebrate and share information of our beloved natural shores such as Chek Jawa, Pasir Ris Mangroves, shores and reefs of the Southern Islands. The festival is designed for all ages. There will be lots of information as well as games and activities, all of which will give you a deeper understanding of what biodiversity has been conserved.

See you at the Festival!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Day out at Chek Jawa with special guests

The Crabs spent a delightful Friday morning at Chek Jawa with some friends of NParks.

The incoming tide was at about 0.7m and it was just PERFECT to see lots of life on the mudflats. In fact, we took the counter-clockwise route today, so that we were able to get out to the coastal boardwalk as quickly as we could. Read on, and you will see the rich biodiversity of plants and animals that we encountered today. Even though we stayed on the boardwalk, we were able to experience the magic of Chek Jawa!

We had 11 guests joined us today. Here we are on the coastal boardwalk admiring the vistas of Chek Jawa....

And the group again on the mangrove segment of the boardwalk.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Chek Jawa Boardwalk with the Crabs in May

We had a fantastic outing at Chek Jawa Boardwalk with the Crabs on 4th May! There were more than 60 visitors (out of 90 who said they would come), including a small troop of students from Meridian JC.

Here's the Big Group Photo before we set off on the little adventure with the Crabs!

And a photo of students and teachers from Meridian JC who came to explore Chek Jawa with us.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Announcement: Chek Jawa Boardwalk outing on 1 June

** SORRY! We are full for the walk on 1st June. Join us another month **


After that great article "Wild About Nature" by Lea Wee in Sunday Life! section on 5 May 2013 which featured the Nature Hermit Crabs along with several other nature groups, we've received an avalanche of emails and enquiries about our nature walks in Chek Jawa, I'm pushing forward the signup for our coming free tour on 1 June. So here it is folks.... sign up on our online form!

But only in small family and friend groups please.

If you're organising a corporate event, may I gently request that you contact our professional nature guide friends. The Crabs are a tiny group of volunteers, and we simply do not have the resources to run private tours. Sorry!

Date: 1 June 2013 (Saturday)
Time: 9:30 am
Duration: 2 hours
Meeting Place: Chek Jawa Information Kiosk, Pulau Ubin
Charge: FREE

If you have questions, please write to us at, but do expect a delay in receiving a reply as we are able to attend to our inbox only at night and during the weekend.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Naked Hermit Crabs in the news!

Thanks to Lea Wee, there's a great feature of the Naked Hermit Crabs in the Sunday Times! With a photo of Mama Crab Ley Kun guiding at the Jejawi Tower on our free guided tours of the Chek Jawa boardwalk!
The articles are a great introduction our fellow nature groups who share the mission to celebrate and conserve what is left of the rich and diverse wildlife here, despite intense urbanisation.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Earth Day at Pasir Ris Park mangrove boardwalk

Last weekend, Singapore's nature community was buzzing with activities to celebrate Earth Day. This year Earth Day falls on the 22nd April 2013, which is a Monday.

The Naked Hermit Crabs did not forget about celebration Earth Day too. We held a free public guided walk at Pasir Ris Park mangrove boardwalk for 15 visitors. We saw many interesting things we usually did not get to spot thanks to other kind park users.

A very special find for both the guides and the visitor was the Buffy fish owl. It was the first time seeing the owl for many of us. Thanks to Ivan's friend, Ho Yong Tze, for showing it to us.
Buffy fish owl
[Photo by Sean Yap]

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Celebrate Earth Day with the Naked Hermit Crabs at Pasir Ris Park mangroves.

The March holidays have started and the school children are out to play.
The Naked Hermit Crabs are organising a free guided walk session on 20 April at the Pasir Ris Park Mangrove boardwalk. It will be a great and educational trip for visitors of all ages.

Meet Mr tree-climbing and spot what he is doing.
Tree-climbing crab

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Monkeying around at Chek Jawa!

Another great day out with families at the Chek Jawa boardwalk for the FREE monthly tour by the Naked Hermit Crabs!
Photo by Heng Pei Yan
Among the highlights of the day was an encounter with a Crab-eating monkey actually eating a 'crab'!