11 January 2015

Raining snakes at Pasir Ris

It was wet and rainy, and there were only four visitors who joined our walk. But the Naked Hermit Crabs (who outnumbered the visitors) still had a great time at Pasir Ris yesterday evening.
Here is Keane, the only young visitor at the walk, spotting the second snake of the day!


Sankar had earlier spotted a snake at the entrance to the mangrove boardwalk. To challenge ourselves, we tried to find it on our own. It was really very well camouflaged!
It was surprisingly difficult to spot this 1m long snake! After some time, hurray! We spot it on our own!
After spotting it, we reward ourselves with photos of it, taken from a good distance away. It's not nice to disturb our wildlife by getting too close to them.
It's a pretty Oriental whip snake that looks just like a fresh green vine! We spotted another Oriental whip snake a little further along the boardwalk.
Keane spots something in a hole, and with a torchlight we see lots of legs in it! Must be a Tree climbing crab! Later on, we saw lots of these crabs out and about in the wet weather. As well as many Giant Giant mudskippers, nice fat Rodong that look like ice-cream cones.
Keane spots a Malayan water monitor that looks just like a log when it's not moving.
We passed by the area where we saw stacks of cut down trees a few weeks ago. It looks like trees have been replanted in their place. I wonder why?
The jetty over Sungei Tampines is a great place to spot birds. Here, we saw a Stork-billed kingfisher plunging into the water to try to catch fishes. We also saw a monitor lizard squeezing into the tree hole near the jetty. Only it's tail was hanging out. And a squirrel moving along the underside of a branch as it nibbled on the bark.
On the wet trees, were hunched and grumpy looking Night herons. Flying overhead, more herons, swifts and kingfishers. There was also a White-breasted waterhen foraging along the waterline.
There was even one Night heron right opposite the jetty.
In the water, we saw archerfishes. And just as we were leaving we saw several Dog-faced watersnakes. One snake was furious swimming towards the land with a large fish in its jaws. These snakes swallow their prey on dry ground, so it hauled up the fish to the ground. The fish was still twitching and the snake just lay there. Probably waiting for the fish to be immobile before it tries to swallow it.
It was great to have the Dunman High School Student Councillors with us. This is part of Kok Sheng's effort to introduce his students to nature and nature guiding under a very apt name of EXCEL. This programme hopes to expose students to real issues, and real efforts to address them by real people. It is the fourth year that Kok Sheng is running this awesome programme!

The Pasir Ris mangroves are just 10 minutes from Pasir Ris MRT and just next to DownTown East. It has educational and interesting panels so you can explore it on your own. It is the only mangrove boardwalk that is open 24/7. A night trip to here can be quite amazing. And here's more about why Pair Ris mangroves are so awesome.

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