• Fig. 2. View of original position of the snake in the phytotelma upon discovery.
  • Fig. 3. View of snake rearranged to feature head and severed part of the
  • Fig. 4. View of the dorsum of the snake rearranged within the phytotelma.
  • Fig. 5. View of the dorsum of the snake, with its head at the lowest point.

Photographs by Connor Butler

Carcass of Banded Malayan Coral Snake (Calliophis intestinalis) in a phytotelma

Location, date and time: Singapore Island, Windsor Nature Park, Venus Loop; 20 April 2017; 1000 hrs.

Observation: The anterior two-thirds of a dead Banded Malayan Coral Snake was found partially submerged in the phytotelma (Fig. 2). The posterior section of the snake’s body appeared to have been bluntly removed (Fig. 3). The remaining portion was 25 cm in length (Fig. 4 & 5).

Remarks: The incomplete carcass of the snake suggests that it had been partially eaten. As the Banded Malayan Coral Snake has semi-fossorial habits (see Baker & Lim, 2012: 116), its presence in the elevated phytotelma suggests that it was carried there. Possible predators include raptorial birds such as owls (see Chan, 2013), and
squirrels (see Ogilvie, 1958; Baker, 2017).


  • Baker, N., 2017. Slender Squirrel preying on gecko. Singapore Biodiversity Records. 2017: 54.
  • Baker, N. & K. K. P. Lim, 2012. Wild Animals of Singapore. A Photographic Guide to Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians and Freshwater Fishes. Updated edition. Draco Publishing and Distribution Pte. Ltd. and Nature Society (Singapore). 180 pp.
  • Chan K. W., 2013. Pink-headed Reed Snake captured by Buffy Fish Owl. Singapore Biodiversity Records. 2013: 89.
  • Ogilvie, C. S., 1958. The Arrow-tailed Flying Squirrel Hylopetes sagitta (Linne). The Malayan Nature Journal. 12 (4): 149-152.

Source: Singapore Biodiversity Records 2017: 71-72

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma)
Upper Thomson Road, 1st May 2017

This male Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, found on the pavement along Upper Thomson Road, and very close to Windsor Nature Park, may have fallen victim to a predator like a Domestic Cat (Felis silvestris catus).

Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) @ Festival of Biodiversity, Nex, Serangoon Central, Serangoon

The Blacktip Reef Shark is one of the species of sharks that can still be found in Singapore waters, and is sometimes seen in shallow waters around our reefs in the Southern Islands. Juveniles often enter lagoons at high tide to feed on fishes, crustaceans, and cephalopods.

This pup, which was on display at the NUS Toddycats! booth at the Festival of Biodiversity, was one of thirteen juvenile sharks found entangled in a series of gillnets that had been laid in a shallow lagoon at Lazarus Island, along with 2 Blue-spotted Fantail Ray (Taeniura lymma), 18 other fishes belonging to 15 different species, 44 crabs belonging to 8 different species, as well as a single Spider Conch (Lambis lambis). It’s a graphic example of how fishing gear can kill marine animals indiscriminately if not used in a responsible manner. Not all of the animals captured in the net were suitable for human consumption, and although the owner of the nets claimed that they had only been left out for a single night when he returned to retrieve them, the highly decomposed state of some of the animals suggested that the nets had been present in the lagoon far longer than that. Protection of our marine resources such as reefs and seagrass meadows will not only involve safeguarding certain locations against impacts such as coastal development, but also creating marine protected areas and regulating potentially destructive practices.

The Festival of Biodiversity has come to an end, but the work to raise awareness about Singapore’s biodiversity continues. There are many organisations and groups involved in the ongoing efforts to not just inform the public about our nation’s biodiversity, but to also get them involved in cherishing and playing an active role in protecting our natural heritage.

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Singapore Freshwater Crab (Johora singaporensis) @ Festival of Biodiversity, Nex, Serangoon Central, Serangoon

The Singapore Freshwater Crab is an endemic species – it’s found only in Singapore and nowhere else in the world! Sadly, this little crab, which lives in flowing streams in the forests, is now considered locally Critically Endangered, with small populations still surviving in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, as well as within small forest patches in Bukit Batok and Bukit Gombak. Conservation of this species and population recovery will require continued protection of the few forest streams it relies on for survival and the surrounding forests, combined with efforts to breed them in captivity.

Drop by the Freshwater Crab Working Group’s booth at the Festival of Biodiversity to learn more about the 6 species of freshwater crabs found in Singapore’s forests.

Daily Decay (24th May 2017): Unidentified Softshell Turtle (F. Trionychidae) @ Tampines Quarry

This headless, decomposing carcass of a Softshell Turtle was found in the vegetation close to the water’s edge in Tampines Quarry.

Two native species of Softshell Turtles are present in Singapore, although they are restricted to the forest streams and swamps of the Central Nature Reserves. However, the most commonly encountered species of Softshell Turtles in Singapore are the non-native Chinese Softshell Turtles (Pelodiscus spp., formerly lumped under a single species, Pelodiscus sinensis), which are sold for human consumption and sometimes released into water bodies by well-meaning but misguided people. However, other non-native species of Softshell Turtles have also been recorded in Singapore, and were likely brought in by the illegal wildlife trade.