Mangled remains of a fruit bat.
(Photograph by Horst Flotow)

Spiny Terrapin (Heosemys spinosa) scavenging on a bat carcass

Location, date and time: Singapore Island, Central Catchment Nature Reserve, forest north of MacRitchie Reservoir; 20 July 2014; 1030 hrs.

Observation: An adult Spiny Terrapin of about 25 cm carapace length was found feeding on a fresh but severely mangled carcass of a Fruit Bat (Cynopterus sp.). The terrapin, apparently startled by the contributor, walked quickly away from the carcass which immediately attracted blowflies.

Remarks: The Spiny Terrapin is said to be primarily herbivorous, but is known to occasionally consume insects, earthworms and carrion (Bonin et al., 2006: 322). The present observation illustrates the scavenging behaviour of this species.

Reference:

  • Bonin, F., B. Devaux & A. Dupré, 2006. Turtles of the World. English edition. A & C Black Publishers Ltd, London. 416 pp.

Source: Singapore Biodiversity Records 2014: 250

DEAD BUT NOT USELESS: Mr Marcus Chua studies a rat specimen that was obtained from a roadkill at Paya Lebar. TNP PHOTOS: BENJAMIN LIM

Roadkill ‘revival’
Researchers at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum preserve dead wild animals for study
By Regina Marie Lee, 18th June 2014;

He was waiting for the train at Paya Lebar MRT station in April when he spotted a “brown patch” on the East-West Line platform.

“I nearly stepped on this brown patch on the floor. On closer inspection, I realised it was a bat,” said Sean Yap.

The 22-year-old National University of Singapore (NUS) life sciences undergraduate was surprised, but quickly tried to salvage the carcass.

He said: “A train had just arrived, so my friend blocked passers-by from stepping on the bat as I used tissue to pick it up, and placed it in a piece of bubble wrap.

"I didn’t recognise the bat species, and it was smaller and more fluffy than the common types in Singapore, so I salvaged it for the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) at NUS.”

He has tried to salvage other road kill for the museum before.

It was indeed a bat not commonly encountered here, according to LKCNHM officer Marcus Chua. There is only one other confirmed record of this species – the Javan Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus javanicus) – in Singapore.

Mr Yap explained: “The museum is always on the lookout for specimens because it prefers not to kill animals that are still living.”

While a dead wild animal on the roads can be an obstacle or safety hazard for other people, it is a potential specimen for study for the LKCNHM’s researchers.

Mr Chua, 30, said: “In the past, people used to shoot and collect wild animals for studying.

"But as we experienced habitat loss and some species became rarer in Singapore, conservation became the priority. Recognising that, (researchers) rely mainly on salvaging dead animals for study.”

It is usually officers from the National Parks Board or friends of the museum who report road-kill sightings.

On average, the museum gets a sighting once every two months. They can be found anywhere, but, for mammals, especially at the periphery of nature reserves.

Mr Chua said: “Road-kill specimens are important because every carcass tells a story. Researchers can learn about where the animal came from. It could highlight the population…at certain locations, or tell us what sort of migratory birds are coming to Singapore.”

The DNA collected is added to a DNA bank, and chemical analysis done on the animal can highlight environmental pollution.

The Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) was thought to be extinct in mainland Singapore, with the last reported sighting in 1968.

But one was run over by a vehicle in Mandai Road in 2001, showing that the species had survived in Singapore.

However, getting the road kill is always a race against time.

“It is a competition with the National Environment Agency,” he said, laughing. “They want to keep the roads clean while we want to get the road kill.”

Those who spot a dead wild animal can inform the museum on 6516-5082 during office hours, or e-mail mammal@sivasothi.com

Source: The New Paper (Mirrors: 1, 2, 3)

Dorso-lateral (top) and ventral (bottom) views of the Javan Pipistrelle (ZRC 4.9490).
(Photographs by Kelvin K. P. Lim)

Javan Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus javanicus) at Paya Lebar

Location, date and time: Singapore Island, Paya Lebar, Paya Lebar Mass Rapid Transport Station; 4 April 2014; around 2300 hrs.

Observation: A male example of 32.3 mm forearm length was found dead on the train station’s platform. The attached figures show the dorso-lateral and the ventral views of the specimen.

Remarks: The specimen is preserved and catalogued as ZRC 4.9490 in the Zoological Reference Collection of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at the National University of Singapore. It is not known how the bat had died, but the skin on the right side of his abdomen was split open, indicating that he may have suffered a violent impact. It is possible that the bat may have collided with the rotating blades of the giant ceiling fans at the train station platform. This is the second confirmed record of the Javan Pipistrelle in Singapore (see: Chan et al., 2009). Both local records of this species are from urban areas.

Reference:

  • Chan K. W., K. K. P. Lim & T. M. Leong, 2009. The Javan Pipistrelle, Pipistrellus javanicus (Mammalia: Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) in Singapore. Nature in Singapore. 2: 323-327.

Source: Singapore Biodiversity Records 2014: 100

Nearly stepped on what I thought was a hairball at Paya Lebar MRT platform, turned out to be a tiny bat! Had Jen block people from trampling while I collected the body in my sacrificed calculator bubblewrap

I couldn’t get clear shots of the sad little guy’s face, but I’m suspecting it’s a Bamboo Bat (Tylonycteris sp.).

Update: Bat has been IDed as a Javan Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus javanicus)! Thanks Marcus Chua!

Source: Sean Yap

Found this little bat last night – undamaged and had;t been dead long. Is it rare? Does anyone from RMBR want it?

Here’s a head shot of the bat – does this help with ID?

Sad to say that I found another bat today, in the exact same spot. Both are now with RMBR.

Sad to say I’ve found another dead bat in my garden. This is the third one now. Beginning to wonder why this is…

Source: Tanglin Halt Wildlife Watch [1], [2], [3]

An update on the dead bats!
Two were Lesser Asiatic Yellow House Bats (Scotophilus kuhlii) and one was a Javan Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus javanicus).
I’ve since been told that the Javan Pipistrelle found a few days ago here is only the second recorded in Singapore in 100 years! I find that amazing – let’s hope there are more out there.

Source: Tanglin Halt Wildlife Watch

We thank Alison Wilson for helping us salvage these three bats that were found dead in the Tanglin Halt area. They have now been preserved and have joined over 500,000 specimens of the Zoological Reference Collection for research and education.

These bats: Lesser Asiatic Yellow House Bat (Scotophilus kuhlii) (left and centre) and Javan Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus javanicus) (right) hunt insects, and help to maintain a healthy balance of insects in the environment.

If you see a dead wild animal, please send us a message on the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research Facebook page, call us at 6516 5082, or email mammal@sivasothi.com. A photo or description of the animal, its general condition and detailed location would be most useful.

Source: Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR)

Lesser Dog-faced Fruit Bat


Lesser Dog-faced Fruit Bat (Cynopterus brachyotis)
Paya Lebar, 13th September 2012

This Lesser Dog-faced Fruit Bat was found struggling on the pavement by Nicky Bay. It was rescued, but died shortly after a series of spasms.

Find out how you can contribute to Monday Morgue too.

Asiatic Lesser Yellow Bat

image
Asiatic Lesser Yellow Bat (Scotophilus kuhlii)
Pasir Panjang, 7th July 2012

This photograph of a dead bat was shared by Zestin Soh on Facebook, and was tentatively identified as an Asiatic Lesser Yellow Bat.

Find out how you can contribute to Monday Morgue too.