Singapore's Wildside!

August is going to be a wildlife-packed month on the blog. For a quick note on why, click here.

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Today's blog post is coming all the way from Singapore. We have a few days here before heading off elsewhere (more), so I decided to see what wildlife I could find in one of the world's only city-states.

I was very impressed by Singapore. The city is very green and, in amongst the skyscrapers and buildings, there are lots of small patches of trees and shrubs. Wherever there is free space, there are trees. Singapore also has a lot of vertical greenery. Many of the buildings have plants and vines growing around them, and some have built-in balconies supporting mini-parks above the streets below. The whole place has a very green feel to it, and it's great. And greenery normally means wildlife.

I'll start with the birds. The most abundant bird in Singapore is the Javan Myna, and we have seen a lot. These birds can be seen anywhere there are trees, and in the streets. It's hard to miss them. Javan Mynas were introduced to Singapore via the bird cage trade in the early 1900s, and have since become very common. We could identify them by white patches on their wings when they fly, and the grey and black plumage. New species for me!

Javan Myna

The second bird we have seen is also spotted in the UK and Europe. Tree Sparrows are seen quite frequently on the streets in Singapore, nesting in buildings and feeding in small open areas. We saw a small group of them sitting in and on a fence running along the side of a busy road. They have adapted to live in urban areas here, and it was great to see them so close.



But there aren't only birds in Singapore. Singapore is home to three species of squirrel: Plantain, Slender, and Variable. The Singapore Botanical Gardens have been the best spot to see them, as the plentiful supply of trees makes a great habitat for them. We think the squirrels we have seen were Plantain Squirrels. Plantain Squirrels are found across much of Asia, from Malaysia to Indonesia, and feed mainly on fruit and some insects. They can live in a wide range of habitats, including mangroves, forests, plantations and urban areas.

Plantain Squirrel

And, to my surprise, we have also seen a reptile in our short stay in Singapore. On our trip to the Singapore Botanical Gardens, we were greeted by what looks like a young Malayan Water Monitor sat on a tall pole. This was an exciting addition to the Singapore list.

Malayan Water Monitor?

Singapore has been a great start to the trip, with a great selection of urban wildlife starting off the list. Look out for a possible second Singapore post before we head off to Borneo.


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