We live in an urban jungle. Aside from being densely populated with people, what are some wild neighbours that we share our island nation with?
Snakessss in the City
Did you know that Singapore is home to the world’s longest snake? And also – wait for it – the world’s longest venomous snake?
Those honours go to the Reticulated Python and King Cobra respectively. Both of which were recently sighted in our heartlands – A King Cobra near Marsiling MRT and a Reticulated Python at a HDB void deck in Bishan. Canals and drainage systems beneath our pavements act as hidden highways for these reptiles, which likely came from Nature Parks or Reserves in the vicinity.
Thankfully for these two, they were safely removed and returned to the wild. Others, however, have not been so lucky. Early last year, a 3 metre long Reticulated Python was ‘stepped on and handled very roughly’ while being removed from Orchard Road. In a separate incident, a much smaller Paradise Tree Snake met with a sticky end when it entered an office – By the time wildlife rescuers from ACRES arrived, it had been scotch-taped to the floor.
In general, experts say that snakes do not seek to attack humans. They will not be aggressive, unless provoked. So there is no need to be hiss-terical when you encounter one in an urban setting. Keep a distance from it, until it is safely removed.
Charismatic and oh-so-cute, our resident romps of Smooth-coated Otters never fail to charm the young and old. They are often seen bobbing about in our waterways, chomping the head off a meaty fish, or bouncing across pathways in our parks in families as large as 15.
One thing’s for sure – wherever they pass, they are followed by cameras snapping away. They have attracted a loyal following, with ‘fan clubs’ aka otter-watching groups dedicated to monitoring their movements and admiring their antics. These fuzzy celebrities have even gained international attention, with stories about them published by National Geographic and BBC. Recently, they were spotted outside Mustafa Centre, enjoying empty streets right in the heart of the city.
That said, they have had their fair share of run-ins with people – feasting on expensive ornamental fish at Sentosa Cove homes and an incident resulting in a child’s injury at Gardens by the Bay.
From those that slither to those that swim, Singapore hides a plethora of fascinating creatures beneath a largely concrete exterior. Encounters are inevitable, so how do we encourage interactions that are safe for both humans and wildlife alike? Find out more during Burning Questions LIVE with a Wildlife Educator. RSVP by Sunday 10 May 2020.