17 June 2011 1 of 2


SINGAPORE

 


TIMOR-LESTE REPTILE & AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
PHASE V: WE'RE ALL GOING TO THE ZOO

(part 1)

The expedition was to spend one day in Singapore, seeing the sights, which primarily (for biologists) meant the world famous Singapore Zoo.

Our usual driver Poh, collected us from the hotel in his minibus and drove us to the zoo, and we asked to see Saskia, one of the senior keepers in the Reptile Department. We met her by the king cobra exhibit and had a brief tour of the off-show area, introducing some of our new team members to interesting species and examining some of the zoo's finer specimens. Not wishing to take up too much of Saskia's time, we took our leave and worked our way slowly back to the entrance, admiring some of the onshow species, e.g. the Fly River turtles (Carettochelys insculpta) from New Guinea, the nearest thing to a freshwater sea turtle, and the curious fish-eating False gharials (Tomistoma schlegeli) from Borneo.

Fly River turtle, Carettochelys insculpta
False gharial, Tomistoma schlegeli
click to enlarge images

It was also fun to try and spot some of the wildlife not actually part of the zoo collection, in other words the wild species living within the zoo grounds.

Clouded monitor lizard, Varanus nebulosus

 

There were Green crested lizards (Bronchoela cristatella) on the branches and Sun skinks (Eutropis multifasciata) in the underground, and we spent a good 15 minutes watching a juvenile Clouded monitor lizard (Varanus nebulosus) foraging in the grass, digging for food and unsuccessfully chasing a Plantain squirrel (Callosciurus notatus).

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