23 December 2017

Singapore got mangroves meh?

YES! We love mangroves because they give us chilli crab and durians!
Mangrove boardwalk at Chek Jawa
Also, Singapore mangroves are beautiful. And are easy to visit! Some are next to MRT stations.

Mangroves give us Chilli Crabs!

The crab we eat in Singapore's famous chilli crab are Mud crabs found in mangroves! While those we eat in restaurants are imported from overseas mangroves, at Pulau Ubin you can enjoy pepper crab and chilli crab with crabs caught at Pulau Ubin itself. Here is the famous Crab Man explaining how he catches crabs in the mangroves of Pulau Ubin.

Mangroves give us more durians!

If you love durians, then you must love mangroves! How can this be? First, let's think about what might pollinate durian flowers? Durian flowers are pom-pom shaped and open at night.You guessed it! Bats pollinate these night blooming flowers! These bats eat the nectar and pollen of the flower.
But durian trees flower only once or twice a year. If a bat were to rely only on durian flowers, it would starve to death! Some mangrove trees have similar night blooming pom-pom shaped flowers. And they bloom more regularly, all year round. These mangrove trees support populations of bats, that also pollinate durian flowers when they bloom. Without mangroves, there would be less bats, and less durians! So let's love and protect our mangroves, so we can  have bats and durians too! More about this special relationship.

What are mangroves?

A mangrove tree can grow by the sea shore where it is flooded in seawater at high tide. It has special roots and leaves and other ways to thrive. Many different kinds of mangrove plants make up a mangrove forest (we don't like to call it a swamp!).
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve: Mangrove boardwalk
The forest is home to all kinds of animals. These include marine creatures that come in with the high tide, others that come out at low tide. As well as birds that fly in and live in the tops of the trees. Supporting this huge variety of life are humble worms and other creatures that live in the mud.

Where can we see mangroves in Singapore?

You are never far from a mangrove in Singapore. Right next to Labrador MRT station is Berlayar Creek boardwalk near Labrador Nature Reserve. Take a stroll here to enjoy the mangroves, as well as scenic views of Sentosa's natural shores, and end up at Vivo City shopping mall!
Berlayar Creek Boardwalk
A few minutes from Pasir Ris MRT station is the Pasir Ris Park mangrove boardwalk. It is open 24/7 and is particularly enjoyable to visit at night.
Families at Pasir Ris mangrove boardwalk
For a fuller mangrove experience, visit the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Kids can have fun at mangrove themed playgrounds, get up close to mud. While serious nature lovers can view migratory shorebirds and other mangrove specials such as crocodiles.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve: Main Hide
The mangroves at Pulau Ubin are just a charming bumboat ride away. No need to bring your passport! The Chek Jawa boardwalk allows you a closer look at mangroves in the east.
Chek Jawa boardwalk tour with the Naked Hermit Crabs
But you can also stroll or cycle through mangroves in the south and west of Pulau Ubin.
Cycling on Pulau Ubin

What can we see in mangroves in Singapore?

Amazing plants such as Nipah palms that give us attap chee!
Nipah palm (Nypa fruticans)
Awesome mangrove trees with weird roots and strange 'fruits' that allow them to thrive in the narrow band between the high tide and low tide.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve: Mangrove boardwalk
Fascinating birds such as shorebirds that travel every year from Siberia to Australia, passing through Singapore's mudflats and mangroves.
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) at Seletar mudflats
Amusing creatures that frolic in and out of water like mudskippers.
Blue-spotted mudskipper (Boleophthalmus boddarti)
Intriguing crocodiles, monitor lizards and lots more.
Estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)

Are there guided tours of mangroves in Singapore?

There are lots of guided mangrove activities every week. Many are FREE and guided by passionate and knowledgeable volunteers.
People on a free guided tour of Pasir Ris mangroves by the Naked Hermit Crabs

Tell us YOUR adventure in the mangroves of Singapore!

This article is written for Celebrating Singapore Shores as part of International Year of the Reef 2018.

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