Sunday, November 16, 2014

Things that fly and slither at Pasir Ris Mangroves!

The Crabs went out to Pasir Ris Mangroves with a large group of families on a Saturday evening in October. There were nearly 40 visitors. What a splendid walk we had! Pasir Ris Mangroves is really easy to get to as it is just a short walk from Pasir Ris MRT station, and for people who drive there, the carpark has lots of parking for everyone. And while you're there in Pasir Ris Mangroves, do look out for these amazing wildlife!

The beautiful Atlas Moth! We almost missed this moth as it was hanging above us. The Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas) is one of the largest moths in the world. It is so named because the markings on its wings do resemble maps! Interestingly enough, the common name for this species of moth in Hong Kong (Cantonese) is translated to "snake head moth", probably because the wing tips do look like a snake's head!
Photo by Sean Yap
Everyone got excited when they spotted the Dog-faced water snake (Cerberus schneiderii) in the water. We usually see this species of snake in the evening when it comes out to hunt for fish and invertebrates. It can be easy to miss this animal because its colour and markings provide excellent camouflage! It wasn't easy to spot the snake initially, but after a while, everyone finally saw it.

And this is the spot where we saw the Dog-faced water snake!

The kids won't let us go without finding out what this snail is called! Well, the local name of this snail is "Chut-chut". It is an edible snail, and the way to eat it is to boil the snails, then dip in a chilli sauce and you suck the snail out of its shell. A local delicacy in Singapore!

What is in this messy-looking photo? Look closely and you will see the Giant mudskipper. And this is its burrow. Do you also notice that the mud around its puddle of water appears to be lighter in colour? The mudskipper digs its little burrow by grabbing mud in its mouth and spitting it out again. The lighter coloured mud is the mud that has been spat out by the mudskipper. When you visit Pasir Ris Mangroves, do look out for these puddles of water. You will surely find a Giant mudskipper nearby!

The Changeable lizard! Quite a cute-looking little fellow. It is commonly found in Singapore, but alas, it is actually not originally a local species! The Changeable lizard is an introduced species, and its presence in our parks and wild places has unfortunately displaced a native species called the Green-crested lizard.

We usually end our evening walks at the jetty but not this time. The jetty is closed for repairs. We were somewhat disappointed because the jetty is such a wonderful place to observe the wildlife in Pasir Ris Mangroves. If you're there in the evening, do look out for monitor lizards, jellyfishes in the river, and birds such as the Grey heron, Oriental pied hornbill, night heron and bee-eaters.

This is a photo of the jetty taken from the bridge. The Crabs look forward to having a nicer jetty when we next visit in December!

While we were at the bridge, we were lucky to be able to observe a Grey heron quietly hunting for its next meal. It's always interesting to see how patient animals are when they are hunting. They move ever so quietly!

The evening walk ended at the covered shelter nearer to the pond. The kids had fun drawing on large coloured sheets.

On our way back to our cars, the Crabs stopped to look at more stuff. This is the sea poison tree. The flowers are absolutely gorgeous! White and pink pom-pom flowers! The fruit is interesting too. Look at its box-like shape! The scientific name for this tree is Barringtonia asiatica.

A sighting of a juvenile Malayan water monitor lizard.

And a dead Cotton-stainer bug carried by red ants. Pasir Ris Mangroves is truly alive!

Want to join us for a walk? The next Pasir Ris Mangroves walk is on Saturday, 27th December, 2014. Check the announcement at this blog post:

The signup form is in the post.

A round of thanks to our volunteer guides for the walk: Sean, Sumita, Ria, CH and LK!

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