Beware of Snakes? Be Aware of Snakes!

What a walk!

For the first Herp Walk of 2016, the HSS ventured into Treetop Walk, along with a group of enthusiastic participants who were keen to see the herps that they shared Singapore with.IMG_5204

Participants were first wowed by a couple of^89103B04E2BF7F823DDA50BDC6E1D932950A3F3ECB96EDC7AC^pimgpsh_fullsize_distr Black-bearded Gliding Lizards (Draco
melanopogon
) perched on a tree. The guides explained how they used their dewlaps to signal to one another! Later on in the walk, the participants were even lucky enough to see one of these cool lizards actually glide from one tree to another!

IMG_5158On the way to the ranger station, the group was also lucky enough to see a Common
Gliding Lizard (Draco sumatranus) perched high up in the trees. As it was hard to spot, we took a while before everyone could see it. During this time, several passing by groups got interested and asked what we were staring at. The guides pointed out the lizard and spoke to them about it.

At the Ranger Station, whilst taking a 10 minute IMG_5171breather, cries of “Twin-barred!” could be heard! This sent many of us rushing over to the side of a drain, where sure enough, a Twin-barred Flying Snake (Chrysopelea pelias) was sitting. Being careful not to disturb the snake, the group snapped pictures and videos, while the guides talked to them about flying snakes! One of the participants, Lena Chow, managed to take this video of the snake featuring a narration in the background by the guides.

^148DB943E2C04E8B5FA4858ABDF108A2ABE8C28518146D58A4^pimgpsh_fullsize_distrAfter the excitement of seeing the Twin-barred Flying Snake, we ascended the trail to Treetop Walk. Along the way, one of the guides spotted two Five-banded Gliding Lizards (Draco quinquefasciatus) perched on the trees. It was a rare event for the entire group to see all three species of Gliding Lizards (that are native to Singapore) in a single day. It was a first for even the guides!

As we crossed the bridge at Treetop Walk, IMG_5211we saw a brave Clouded Monitor Lizard (Varanus nebulosus) clinging to the trunk of a tree. As we walked further ahead, some of the workers doing trail maintenance pointed out a juvenile Wagler’s Pit Viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri) that had apparently been sitting in the same spot for several days. We briefly discussed highly venomous snakes and their place in the ecosystem.

img_7034Serin heard a group of Asian Fairy Bluebirds (Irena puella) calling in a grove. After searching for a good five minutes, he finally spotted them. The beautiful bird amazed the group with its song. Shortly after, while walking back to the Ranger’s Station, Ing Sind spotted a tiny Yellow Striped Tree Skink (Lipinia vittigera) on a tree. Unfortunately, the tiny lizard ran to the other side of the tree before we could snap any photos! Here’s a pic of Lipinia from our previous Herp Walk @ Treetop Walk

As we paused at the Ranger’s Station, the guides initiated a discussion about the Cross Island Line, which is set to run through the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. We talked about the potential impact of this development on the forests and about the Love MacRitchie Movement. The participants were urged to make their views and opinions heard on a public platform!

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As we headed back, we stopped at the “Beware of Snakes” sign and took a group photo. We don’t think people should beware of snakes! We think people should Be Aware of Snakes!

^162D31C1AB68BFC2870843C2A4625DEFEF9E62AC16044C0046^pimgpsh_fullsize_distrA few meters away, Serin spotted an Oriental Whip Snake (Ahaetulla prasina) coiled on the metal fence with a Garden Supple Skink (Lygosoma bowringii) thrashing in its mouth. The snake struggled to hold the skink in its mouth, but eventually managed to slither into the adjacent bushes. We explained to the participants that getting too close to feeding animals can cause undue stress, which may result in them losing a meal. So we all kept a respectful distance from this amazing display.

To end off the walk, one of the^DA6A1C0D2904CDD155E3F810DB71DDDF244C9DB9295AB5B8AB^pimgpsh_fullsize_distr participants spotted a Striped Kukri Snake (Oligodon octolineatus) in the grass. We realised that the snake was positioned between a drain and a road, both of which posed threats to the safety of the snake. Ing Sind gently helped guide the snake to safety at the adjacent forest edge, where it would be much safer. The snake slithered away into the undergrowth.

We ended off our first Herp Walk of 2016 at Venus Drive and said our good-byes to the wonderful participants. One of the participants, Mr Chee Hoew Cheng, had brought along a plastic bag and some tongs. He said that forest litter was a pet peeve of his. Along the entire walk, he was picking up trash from the ground and put it in his bag. Bravo! (We also noticed that he was from the Humanist Society Singapore. Another HSS! Hooray!)

Check out these other blog posts and photo albums from our walk!

[1] – This amazing blog post by Winnie Lim, one of the participants on the walk.
[2] – Our Photo Album on the HSS Facebook Page
[3] – Harmon’s Photo Album
[4] – Dayna’s Photo Album
[5] – 
Yong Jen’s Photo Album
[6] – Jonathan’s Photo Album

FREE Guided Herp Walk @ Treetop Walk!

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Participants of our last walk at Treetop Walk!

Registration Link

It was great guiding at Treetop Walk in October. So, for the first walk of 2016, we’re going there again! In an effort to promote an awareness of Singapore’s natural and historical heritage, and to promote conversations amongst Singaporeans, the HSS will be having its second Herp Walk @ Treetop Walk. We want to raise awareness, in particular, about Herps! These misunderstood creatures are often thought of as scary or unnecessary. But we want to show Singaporeans that Herps are important and integral to the Singaporean ecosystem!

This walk will take place on Sunday 24th January 2016, 8.30AM-12.00PM

So, do come down for a leisurely stroll along the Trail. Let the guides regale you with tales about the transformation of the entire area over the years. Learn about this green space that plays home to amazing biodiversity! If you’re lucky, you might get to see some of our scaly friends! Best of all, it’s absolutely free! So don’t wait and register at this link!

You may have seen us being featured on Channel NewsAsia on the 9th of Jan! But if you missed it, check out this great article at this link!