• 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
    body.
  • 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).

References:

  • 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

Photograph by David Groenewoud

Indochinese Rat Snake (Ptyas korros) at Sembawang

Location, date and time: Singapore Island, Sembawang, Sembawang Road at junction of Canberra Street; 31 January 2017; around 1315 hrs.

Observation: The featured snake was found wriggling on the busy road after having been struck by a car. The observer retrieved the injured snake with the intention to revive it. Although the reptile appeared intact externally, it had suffered from internal injuries and soon died. The accompanying picture shows a dorsal view of the specimen ex-situ shortly after it had expired.

The snake was deposited as a voucher specimen in the Zoological Reference Collection of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at the National University of Singapore, where it was assigned the catalogue number ZRC 2.7238. It was found to be an adult female, measuring 154 cm in total length, and 100 cm in snout-vent length.

Remarks: In Singapore, the Indochinese Rat Snake ‘appears to be fairly common in rural areas where it feeds on rodents and frogs’ (Lim & Lim, 1992: 56). Baker & Lim (2012: 161) do not illustrate this species in their guide book, but regard it as a native species that is locally ‘widespread but uncommon’.

References:

  • 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.
  • Lim, K. K. P. & F. L. K. Lim, 1992. A Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 160 pp.

Source: Singapore Biodiversity Records 2017: 41

Ventral aspect of the Green Iguana carcass. Photograph by Ian Chew.

Roadkill Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) at Upper Thomson

Location, date and time: Singapore Island, Old Upper Thomson Road; 8 January 2017; 1700 hrs.

Observation: A carcass of a Green Iguana was found on the road. It may have been run over by a vehicle. Its snout-vent length was approximately 20 cm. The total length was 35 cm, but the tail was incomplete, possibly due to a prior injury.

Remarks: Green Iguanas are not native to Singapore. Adult and juvenile individuals, very likely abandoned pets and their progeny, have been recorded in the western and northern parts of Singapore, including Bukit Batok (Tay, 2015), Jurong (Low et al., 2016), Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (Chua, 2007) and Kranji Reservoir around Sungei Tengah (Ng & Lim, 2014; Khoo, 2016). This appears to be the first published record in the central part of the island, at the edge of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

References:

  • Chua. E.K., 2007. Feral Iguana attacks Varanus salvator at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Biawak. Quarterly Journal of the International Varanid Interest Group. 1 (1): 35-36.
  • Khoo, M. D. Y., 2016. Green Iguanas at Kranji Reservoir. Singapore Biodiversity Records. 2016: 185.
  • Low, M. R., D. P. Bickford, M. Tan & L. C. Neves, 2016. Malayopython (Python) reticulatus. Diet. Herpetological Review. 17 (1):148.
  • Ng B. C. & K. K. P. Lim, 2015. Green Iguana at Sungei Tengah. Singapore Biodiversity Records. 2015: 51.
  • Tay J. B., 2015. Green Iguana at Burgundy Crescent. Singapore Biodiversity Records. 2015: 188.

Source: Singapore Biodiversity Records 2017: 5

  • Fig. 1. Dorsal view of Typhlops muelleri.
  • Fig. 2. Ventral view of Typhlops muelleri.
  • Fig. 3. Flattened and dried carcass of Boiga jaspidea.
  • Fig. 4. Flattened and dried carcass of Dasia grisea.
  • Fig. 5. Head of Dasia grisea carcass.

Photographs by Law Ing Sind

Dead White-bellied Blind Snake (Typhlops muelleri), Jasper Cat Snake (Boiga jaspidea), Brown Tree Skink (Dasia grisea) at Upper Peirce

Location, date and time: Singapore Island, Central Catchment Nature Reserve, access road to Upper Peirce Reservoir Park, off Old Upper Thomson Road; 27 August 2016; evening.

Observation: A juvenile Typhlops muelleri of about 10 cm total length (Figs. 1 & 2) was found dead in water in a drain. It is believed to have drowned. A male example of Boiga jaspidea of about 1 m total length (Fig. 3), and an adult Dasia grisea (Figs. 4 & 5) are both flattened and dried roadkills found plastered on the surface of the road. They have probably been dead for more than a day.

Remarks: The three species of reptile herein recorded are recognised as rare in Singapore. Boiga jaspidea and Typhlops muelleri are classified as ‘critically endangered’ while Dasia grisea is regarded as ‘endangered’ (Lim, 2008: 264-265).

All three specimens have been deposited at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at the National University of Singapore, with Boiga jaspi
dea
catalogued as ZRC 2.7225, Typhlops muelleri as ZRC 2.7226 and Dasia grisea as ZRC 2.7227.

Reference:

  • Lim, K. K. P., 2008. Checklists of threatened species – fishes, amphibians and reptiles. In: Davison, G. W. H., P. K. L. Ng & H. C. Ho (eds.). The Singapore Red Data Book. Threatened Plants & Animals of Singapore. Second edition. Nature Society (Singapore). p. 263-266.

Source: Singapore Biodiversity Records 2016: 145-146

The Dolphin carcass being removed by Ramky Cleantech Services workers yesterday. The workers poured disinfectant over the carcass and the surrounding area. They then wrapped it in trash bags and canvas sheets, before lifting it up with a large canvas bag to a lorry which took it to the company’s Loyang office.
Photo: Ng Huiwen

Museum set to examine Dolphin carcass
Lee Kong Chian museum to decide whether to salvage it ‘for science’ after scrutiny by its researchers
By Ng Huiwen, 8th July 2016;

The fate of the Dolphin carcass that washed ashore at East Coast Park on Wednesday remains unclear as of yesterday, as a local museum looks into whether it is suitable for preservation.

The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum said it hopes to “salvage the specimen for science”, though its researchers will have to examine the carcass further before making a decision.

“It is likely that the Dolphin’s skeleton can be processed, but we don’t know for sure yet,” said the museum’s curator of mammals and birds, Mr Marcus Chua.

He has identified the carcass as belonging to an Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin (Sousa chinensis), also known as the Pink Dolphin. It is the most commonly sighted dolphin species in Singapore waters.

Sales manager Nigel Lim, 36, was cycling with his wife and two children, aged two and four, at about 11am on Wednesday when he discovered the dead Dolphin on the beach next to Big Splash.

“I happened to park my bicycle by the side and walked to see the beach and boats. It looked like a big floating buoy but upon closer look, it was a carcass,” said Mr Lim, who posted a picture of it on Facebook, before a friend alerted the authorities.

When The Straits Times visited the area yesterday morning, flies were seen swarming around the punctured abdomen of the carcass. It appeared to be badly decomposed, with a portion of its tail skeleton exposed.

A dead Dolphin of the same species was found at East Coast Park by beach-goers in July 2014. The carcass was retrieved and handed over to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, though it is unclear if it was preserved.

At East Coast Park yesterday, workers were seen removing the carcass from the beach to a lorry just before noon, about 25 hours after it was first discovered.

Earlier at about 9.45am, a three-member team from the National Parks Board had cordoned off the area around the carcass. They left soon after.

Later, the carcass was removed by workers from Ramky Cleantech Services. Donning face masks and gloves, they were seen pouring disinfectant over the carcass and the surrounding area. They then wrapped it in trash bags and canvas sheets, before lifting it up with a large canvas bag to a lorry.

Ramky site manager Jenny Khng, who oversaw the operation, said the carcass was taken to its Loyang office, as they awaited further instructions from the authorities.

The Straits Times understands that the museum has since taken over the 2m-long carcass, but the museum’s Mr Chua declined to reveal its current location.

Mr Lim, the man who had stumbled upon the carcass, hopes the museum will be able to keep and eventually display the Dolphin specimen. “Then I’ll have more reasons to take my kids there to see it.”

Source: The Straits Times

The skeleton of the Dolphin carcass found in 2014 is currently on display outside the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum Public Gallery, next to the Gift Shop.

Photograph by Xu Weiting

Bizarre death of a Reticulated Python (Malayopython reticulatus) at Kent Ridge

Location, date and time: Singapore Island, Kent Ridge, campus of the National University of Singapore, Science Drive 4; 7 April 2016; 0830 hrs.

Observation: One juvenile example of about 1 m total length was found freshly dead and draped over the edge of the door of a toilet cubicle. Figure 1 shows the limp body of the dead snake hanging down the side of the door. Figure 2 shows the head of the dead snake on the side of the door facing the cubicle.

Remarks: This appears to be an accident. The Python could have coiled itself on the metal box of the door closer (indicated by white arrow in Fig. 1) and escaped the notice of the person using the toilet cubicle. It had probably tried to slip over the side of the door facing the cubicle as the door was being shut, thereby catching it at the neck and crushing that section of the body. However, it is also possible that it was not an accident. The user of the toilet cubicle could have noticed the snake, and had deliberately and forcibly shut the door to kill it. The Reticulated Python is a common snake in Singapore. It frequents most terrestrial habitats, from forest to mangroves, and is often found near human habitation (Baker & Lim, 2012: 91).

Reference:

  • 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.

Source: Singapore Biodiversity Records 2015: 74

Photographs by Tan Heok Hui

King Quail (Synoicus chinensis) road kill at Bedok Reservoir Park

Location, date and time: Singapore Island, Bedok Reservoir Park, carpark A; 26 March 2016, around 1210 hrs.

Observation: An individual of about 14 cm head and body length was found squashed on the ground, most likely by a motor vehicle. It may have been killed earlier in the morning as the observers found the carcass to be odourless and they did not see flies on it (Fig. 1). When the carcass was flipped over, there were ants on the areas with exposed flesh (Fig. 2).

Remarks: The featured carcass is an adult male based on the bluish-grey plumage with alternating black and white streaks on the head. Females are a cryptic brown without distinct colour pattern. In Singapore, the King Quail is an uncommon resident, reported mainly from open grasslands in areas such as Lorong Halus, Punggol and along the Changi coast (Singapore Birds Project, 2016; Yong et al., 2016; as Excalfactoria chinensis).

References:

  • Singapore Birds Project, 2016. King Quail. http://singaporebirds.com/species/king-quail/. Accessed on 26 March 2016.
  • Yong, D. L., K. C. Lim & T. K. Lee, 2016. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2nd edition. John Beaufoy Publishing, 176 pp.

Source: Singapore Biodiversity Records 2015: 56

  1. Visitors can get close to the skeleton of the 10.6m-long adult female Sperm Whale, nicknamed Jubi Lee by museum staff, and see it “eye to eye” – it is displayed in a diving pose with its skull just 1m off the floor.
  2. Items found inside the Whale’s skeleton.

Photos: Ong Wee Jin, Audrey Tan

A Whale of an exhibit
Skeleton of 10.6m-long Sperm Whale, found in S’pore waters, goes on display from today
By Audrey Tan, 15th March 2016;

The latest attraction at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum – the skeleton of a Whale found floating in Singapore waters off Jurong – goes on display from today.

Visitors can get close to the skeleton and see it “eye to eye” – it is displayed in a diving pose with its skull just 1m off the floor.

This is unlike most museum Whale skeletons, which are usually hung horizontally near the ceiling.

“We wanted to give the Whale a natural pose in a limited space,” said museum conservator Kate Pocklington, who was one of five researchers at the museum involved in preserving the skeleton.

The skeleton of the adult female Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) takes pride of place in the mammals section of the museum at the National University of Singapore. The carcass of the 10.6m-long Whale was discovered floating off Jurong Island on July 10 last year – the first time the marine mammal has been spotted in Singapore waters.

Museum scientists say it is likely to have died after being hit by a ship, as its dorsal hindquarters had a large wound. Broken backbones were also found below the injury.

It was nicknamed Jubi Lee by museum staff, as it was found during the nation’s Golden Jubilee year.

“As an older Singaporean, I am overjoyed by the return of a Whale to our natural history museum,” said Ambassador-at-large Tommy Koh, who was at the official launch of the whale exhibit last night.

The skeleton of a 13m-long Indian Fin Whale (likely a Blue Whale) (Balaenoptera musculus) was shown at the old National Museum from 1907 to 1974 before it was given to Malaysia.

“Jubi Lee is even better than the Whale we gave away because it was found in our waters, because it belongs to a species seldom found in our waters, and because the skeleton is in perfect order,” he added.

The museum’s head, Professor Peter Ng, told The Straits Times it was rare for the Whale skeleton to be preserved and mounted in just eight months. “In most countries, the carcass is buried, allowed to rot, and only after several years is the skeleton excavated… We have expedited the process through very hard work – no mean feat. And it did not come cheap.”

The museum has raised around $1.3 million for scientific and educational efforts related to the Sperm Whale carcass. Half of it went to setting up the exhibit, while the other half will be used for marine biodiversity education and research.

Besides marvelling at the size of Jubi Lee, visitors can learn more about its biology, the threats it faced, and how it was discovered. Plastic cups and bags found in its gut, for instance, will be on display.

Educator Mary Lim, 38, who was at last night’s event, said it could teach children about the value of fossils. Her son, Elijah, seven, said of the plastic found in the whale’s gut: “It is disgusting and sad that the Whale ate them, they look dirty.”

Source: The Straits Times

  1. The skeleton of Jubi the Sperm Whale on display at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.
  2. CEO of Temasek Holdings Ho Ching officially unveiled Jubi on Monday.
  3. Jubi was given her name after being discovered during Singapore’s Jubilee year.
  4. The 10.5m female Sperm Whale suffered several broken bones in her spine, as well as a huge gash on her body.
  5. Analysis from the DNA team discovered that Jubi had the same mitochondrial genetic signature common in Sperm Whales found in the North Pacific Ocean.
  6. Protected by a whaling moratorium, sperm whales are now listed as vulnerable to extinction by conservation authorities.

Photos: Ngau Kai Yan

In pictures: Jubilee Whale Exhibit at Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
By Dawn Karen Tan, 14th March 2016;

Remember the female Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) that washed ashore in late July last year? Its skeleton is now on display at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

The Jubilee Whale Exhibit – at the mammals section of the museum – was officially unveiled on Monday evening (Mar 14) by Ms Ho Ching, chief executive of Temasek Holdings.

After deciding to salvage the Whale last year, the museum launched an appeal for funds to preserve its skeleton. Nicknamed “Jubi”, the exhibit will help educate visitors on whale biology and the threats faced by these mammals.

The Whale, which had been discovered off the coast of Jurong Island, had presented authorities with a conundrum: Allow it to sink and float away, or salvage it? The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum chose the latter.

“Surprisingly, everyone came together, doing a lot of abnormal things, and against all the odds… we managed to get the Whale to stay in Singapore waters, bring it all the way to Tuas and get it ready for processing,” said CEO of the museum Mr Peter Ng.

Nine museum staff were deployed to salvage the 10.5-metre specimen. Earning the nickname “Jubi Lee” – as she was found during Singapore’s Jubilee year – the Whale was to become the first Sperm Whale ever recorded in the coastal waters around Peninsular Malaysia.

Analysis from the DNA team discovered that Jubi had the same mitochondrial genetic signature common in Sperm Whales found in the North Pacific Ocean.

Examination of the carcass shed some light on Jubi’s life and her final days.

With her stomach filled with indigestible squid beaks, it was found that she mainly fed on live squid, but there was also another troubling discovery – marine trash.

It was apparent that she had not eaten recently. Her body bore a terrible wound – a huge gash possibly incurred from a boat’s propeller. She also suffered several broken bones in her spine. Scientists deduced the injury had left her unable to hunt. She had likely died just a few days before being discovered.

Protected by a whaling moratorium, Sperm Whales are now listed as vulnerable to extinction by conservation authorities.

This is not the first time the museum has had a large whale. The famous “Singapore Whale” was displayed in the old museum until 1974. After it was given away to another museum, all efforts to retrieve it had failed.

Staff at the museum saw Jubi’s arrival as a gift.

Mr Ng said: “For fate or whatever reason, it has come back into our hands. It shows what crazy people can do in desperate situations. At the end of the day, we can come together to get something important done.

"Is the whale important? Oh yes, it’s important, because it’s a symbol – a symbol that we are doing something right.”

Source: Channel NewsAsia

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/starterkit/servlet/fragment?id=2601454&view=embed

The Jubilee Whale Exhibit was officially unveiled on Monday evening at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

Source: Channel NewsAsia