UPDATE: 21st January 2018 (Sunday): Herp Walk #2 @ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

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A beautiful Shore Pit Viper that we saw on our last walk at Sungei Buloh in April 2017 (Photo by Toh Weiyang)

Due to high demand, we’ve decided to open up another 25 slots for a second guided walk that we will be holding concurrently with the walk on 21st January 2018! Walk Number 2 will start at the Visitor Centre and head to the mangrove boardwalk at the main Wetland Reserve!

This walk will take place on Sunday 21 January 2018, 8.00AM-11.00AM

So, what are you waiting for? Come herping with us! Register at this link.

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21st January 2018 (Sunday): Herp Walk @Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

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A large crocodile, that we got to see at our last Herp Walk in April 2017! (Photo by Mahesh Krishnan)

It’s a New Year! But HSS is still here with guided herp walks around Singapore! Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves play home to many species of herptiles, big and small! The large mangrove ecosystem supports great biodiversity. And we love taking walks there. We’d love it if you could join us for this walk! Herps are often thought of as scary or unnecessary. But in reality, these reptiles and amphibians are important and integral to the Singaporean ecosystem!

This walk will take place on Sunday 21 January 2018, 8.00AM-11.00AM

So what are you waiting for?  Let’s go herping! You can register at this link.

23rd December 2017 (Saturday): Herp Walk @ Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (Holiday Special!)

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A gorgeous male Black-bearded Flying Dragon (Draco melanopogon), one of the many lizards that thrive in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

School’s out and we’re back!

After finishing our gruelling exams and projects, us herpers like nothing better than taking a nice hike up to the summit of Bukit Timah. It’s a nice walk and helps us burn those calories we gained while mugging for the examinations. We’d love it if you could join us for this walk! We want to show you more Herps! These misunderstood creatures are often thought of as scary or unnecessary. But in reality, these reptiles and amphibians are important and integral to the Singaporean ecosystem!

This walk will take place on Saturday 23 December 2017, 8.00AM-11.00AM

So what are you waiting for? It’s the holidays! Let’s go herping! You can register at this link.

 

30th September 2017 (Saturday): Creepy Crawlies and Herpy Derpies!

Creepy Crawlies and Herps that can be found in Singapore’s green spaces!

Creepy Crawlies, Reptiles and Amphibians are often thought of as scary or dangerous! But nothing could be further from the truth. These creatures are integral aspects of fully functioning ecosystems. Yet, they are regularly overlooked and even shunned by people. So, to show how important and beautiful these creatures really are, HSS and ENSING are joining forces to bring you our first collaborative walk at Venus Loop. So what are you waiting for? Sign up!

This Free Guided Walk is held on Saturday, 30th September 2017, 8.30AM-11.30AM

So, what are you waiting for? Register for the walk at this link! See you there!

13th August 2017 (Sunday): FREE Guided Herp Walk @ Treetop Walk

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An uncommon Yellow Striped Tree Skink (Lipinia vittigera) at Treetop Walk!

Yes! We’re back! After the last two months of doing walks at Pulau Ubin, we are resuming our monthly free guided walks. TreeTop Walk is one of our favourite places to herp. So come join us on this walk through Singapore’s Central Catchment Nature Reserve. Learn more about the natural heritage of our tiny island. And if we’re lucky, we might meet some of our scaly friends!

Our coming walk will be held on Sunday, 13 August 2017, 8.00AM-12.00PM

So what are you waiting for? Register for this walk at this link. See you there!

HSS at Pesta Ubin!

Pesta Ubin is happening in full swing! Check out all the action on the Pesta Ubin Blog! The Friends of Ubin Network (FUN) have organized this amazing 10-week long celebration to showcase this amazing island to Singapore!

Pesta Ubin 2017

HSS is joining the fun as well! For the next few weeks, we will be collaborating with Strix Wildlife Consultancy and the Vertebrate Study Group to do guided walks at Pulau Ubin!
So far, we have done a few walks already. Check out these pictures from our last few walks!

Looks like fun? Join us on the following dates and see what biodiversity Ubin has to offer:
Saturday 24th June 2017, 6.30PM-9.30PM
Saturday 1st July 2017, 6.30PM-9.30PM
Saturday 8th July 2017, 9.00AM-12.00PM
Saturday 15th July 2017, 5.00PM-8.00PM

Each walk will cost $15 per pax, with payment made on the spot! There is no need to register. Simply meet at the Assembly Area (In front of the Ubin NParks Office) 30 minutes before the walk starts! Here’s a handy map that you can use to find the meeting point!

We will resume our regular herp walks in August! See you on Ubin!

Herpy Anniversary to us at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve!

On 2nd April, we organized our very first Herp Walk at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Bleary-eyed, (from having woken up at 5.30AM), the HSS guides and participants shuffled into the Wetland Centre at 8AM. Despite the early start, we were excited to explore the Reserve!

Right off the bat, as we walked out onto the main bridge connecting the Wetland Centre and the trail, a flurry of activity greeted us. Serin’s sharp eyes spotted the distinctive movement of two Smooth-coated Otters further up the river.

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Photo by Mahesh Krishnan, one of our Participants

Closer to where we were standing, we were able to get a great view of two Saltwater Crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus), including the famous “Tailless”. Saltwater Crocs are the largest reptile alive today. They are apex predators, and it takes a well-functioning ecosystem to support predators of their size! So their presence is somewhat indicative of the health of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

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Photo by Mahesh Krishnan

Evolutionarily speaking, crocodiles are more closely related to birds than they are to other “reptiles”. Birds and crocodilians are both grouped under the clade Archosauria, along with the extinct dinosaurs. So the crocodiles we see today are of somewhat “royal” lineage, and it’s really cool to be able to observe them up close!

Further up the road, we saw a frog, albeit one we didn’t want to see! A Gunther’s Frog (Sylvirana guentheri) sat perched on a leaf at the side of an embankment. This species is not native to Singapore and is possibly an invasive species. It has been recorded locally since 1977 [1]. It was worrying to encounter this species so far within the Nature Reserve.

 

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Photo by Mahesh Krishnan

We walked along a little further and were ecstatic to find a normally skittish Draco sumatranus lizard resting on a leaf. We shortly realized that the truth was much more morbid. The Draco, a female, had a single thread of spider silk wrapped around her neck. It is not entirely clear what transpired, but one possibility is that the lizard had gotten accidentally tangled in the web and strangled by it. This was also a testament to how strong spider silk can be!

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Photo by Toh Weiyang, a HSS volunteer

These lizards are able to escape predators by gliding from tree to tree, by expanding their ribcages to spread patagia that they have. You can read more about this at this link.

We were soon treated to our very first snake of the walk! A lovely Paradise Tree Snake (Chrysopelea paradisi) that quickly slithered up a tree. Much like the Draco, it is able to glide from tree to tree! It accomplishes this by flattening its body like a ribbon and jumping off a tree! You can read more about this at this link.

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Photo by Mahesh Krishnan

Not too far ahead, we were treated to two more snakes, both Oriental Whip Snakes (Ahaetulla prasina). These are some of the most common snakes in Singapore, and can even be found in urban areas bordering green spaces. Of course, they are harmless and mean humans no harm!

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Photo by Mahesh Krishnan

We also caught a glimpse of a juvenile Malayan Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) catching and attempting to eat a crab. These ubiquitous creatures are the second-largest lizards in the world, after the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis). Despite their intimidating appearance, they are harmless and will not attack humans unprovoked.

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Photo by Mahesh Krishnan

Finally, near the end of the trail, Serin spotted a Mangrove Pitviper (Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus) coiled up in the foliage at the side of the embankment. These are one of the seven highly venomous snakes that can be found in Singapore and are not commonly seen due to their sit-and-wait behaviour. They are restricted to mangrove habitats like Sungei Buloh.

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Photo by Toh Weiyang

We ended off the walk with a group photo at the Main Bridge. It was a fantastic herp session, with many different herps showing up. A big thank you to ALL the participants and volunteer guides!walk

We’ve enjoyed every day of the last two years because of amazing walks like this. It’s been another wild year of showing Singaporeans how cool reptiles and amphibians are. We would not be able to do this without the constant, enthusiastic support of all of our volunteers and guides! And of course, none of this would be possible without the support of the Singaporean public (That’s YOU!) and the Nature community! A big thank you to anyone who has supported us in any small way over the last two years. Singapore has lots of biodiversity to be seen. We hope we can continue bringing them to you for many more years to come!

References

[1] – Leong T. M. & K. K. P. Lim, 2011. Occurrence of Günther’s frog, Hylarana guentheri (Amphibia: Anura: Ranidae) in Singapore. Nature in Singapore. 4: 135-141.