22 October 2009

Wildfacts updates: dolphins, dugongs and other verts

Vertebrates don't motivate me much. But what's there not to love about otters?
Smooth otters
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Aug 09
Photo shared by Brandon Chia on his flickr.

Dragged screaming and kicking, then in sullen procrastination, I've finally done up fact sheets for some of the vertebrates of our shores. Brandon's adorable photo of these impossibly cute otters tripped me down the slippery slope.

Some fact sheets were really sad to do. Like the dugongs. Sigh.
Dead dugong washed up on Pulau Tekong, Jun 06
Photos from Raffles Museum news.

Fortunately, the pink dolphins are more often seen alive than dead. And there's a wealth of videoclips of these glorious wild creatures living free in our waters!
Off Sisters Islands, May 07
Photo shared by CK Tan on the habitatnews flickr

The situation is also not so sad for the sea turtles, although the joy of seeing hatchlings on our shores is always quickly tempered by the sad end that befalls many of them.
Rescued baby turtles in a bucket, East Coast Park, May 06
Photos shared by Sivasothi on his blog.
Adult hawksbill turtle, Pulau Semakau, Nov 07
Photo shared by Teo Siyang on his blog.

Another source of morbid fascinating is the Estuarine crocodile, quite regularly sighted at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. And here is another great shot shared by Brandon.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Oct 09
Photo shared by Brandon Chia on his flickr.

Abundant to the point of peskiness, is the Malayan water monitor. Sometimes mistakenly called the Komodo dragon (to the hair-tearing frustration of many a nature guide), this lizard is very common on all our shores. Large ones are sometimes mistaken for crocodiles.
There are also lots of other pretty little lizards in our coastal areas. These include the charming Green crested lizard, the sometimes red headed Changeable lizard and the shiny Common sun skink.
Furry visitors to the shores especially at low tide include the Long-tailed macaque which is also called the Crab-eating macaque, revealing its mangrove origins. Together with the wild boar, these warm and furry creatures are still commonly seen in many of our wild places.
Other fuzzy cuddly creatures of the trees include the Plantain squirrel of daytime antics and the Toddycat or Common palm civet which is more active at night. Both can be quite common, although the more secretive civet is less often seen by humans.
Among our mammals, my favourite are bats! Alas, they are difficult photograph and little is known about them. But they are really cute! On the left is the Common fruit bat, so common that there's even one that sometimes lives in my house. And on the right the sociable Pouched tomb bat.
Birds are NOT my favourite animals. But they are hard to avoid. Shorebirds and seabirds are important creatures of the shores and do indeed have fascinating stories. While the Oriental pied-hornbill is charismatic, for something with feathers. And the Red junglefowl, as ancestor to our favourite deep-fried meal, is of interest to many people.
This update was also a chance to put out more fact sheets on my favourite verts: snakes! Here's some updates of shore snakes and snakes seen near coastal habitats. Clockwise from top left: Puff-faced water snake, Banded krait, Marbled sea snake, Shore pit viper, Oriental whip snake and Reticulated python.
These fact sheets would not have been possible without the info, sightings and photos generously shared by many. Thank you everyone for covering up my total slackness in documenting vertebrates.

Here's a text index of the vertebrate fact sheets, with a photo index, on the wildsingapore website. The fact sheets include lists of latest sightings of the more rare marine vertebrates: dolphins, sea turtles and dugongs.

There are far more comprehensive fact sheets and photos of our vertebrates on these sites:
  • EcologyAsia by Nick Baker with fact sheets and photos of a wide range of vertebrates.
  • Wildlife Singapore by Chan Kwok Wai with fact sheets and photos of a wide range of vertebrates.
Seen any mammals?

N. Sivasothi and Xu Weiting would like to hear of any mammal record on land, sea and air. And large marine animals too - this includes turtles and interesting fish!

Just fill in the form at http://mammal.sivasothi.com/
They would also love to receive photos, please send them to: mammal@sivasothi.com

More details on the habitatnews blog.

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant story Ria ...a genuine treasure trove of links and information I will definitely find time to explore! Thank you so much for sharing this with us. cheers Russ



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