• 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

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

Fig. 1. Carcass of a Green Turtle (in foreground) floating at Selat Pandan.
Fig. 2. Ventral view of Green Turtle carcass showing: a) single claw on front flipper, b) spilt guts, and c) crack line on the plastron.
Photographs by Tan Yee Keat

Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) carcass showing sign of boat strike at Selat Pandan

Location, date and time: Singapore Strait, Selat Pandan off Jurong Island; 9 June 2015; 1150 hrs.

Observation: A carcass of a marine turtle, with estimated plastron length of between 50 and 60 cm, was found floating at sea along a hectic shipping lane (Fig. 1). It had spilt guts (Fig. 2b) and a crack line on the plastron (Fig. 2c).

Remarks: The single claw on both front flippers (Fig. 2a) and relatively small blunt head identify the carcass as a Chelonia mydas (see Gomez & Miclat, 2001). Although quite commonly sighted around the islands in the Singapore Strait (Tan, 2010), the green turtle is regarded as a ‘critically endangered’ species in Singapore (Lim et al., 2008).

The featured turtle seems to have been dead for at least two days. The large crack line on the animal’s plastron suggests that it was cut by a boat propeller, and had possibly succumbed from the injury. Compared to fast-swimming cetaceans, marine turtles and Dugongs tend to be slower in their movements, and appear to be more vulnerable to morbidity and mortality by boat strike (Davenport & Davenport, 2006). The adoption of ‘Go-Slow’ or speed restriction zones (less than 4 km h-1 according to Hazel et al., 2007) may be necessary to mitigate collision risks in areas where turtles tend to frequent, such as over seagrass beds, their foraging habitat. This measure is imperative to protect this endangered animal in Singapore’s marine environment, which is one of the world’s busiest ports (Chou, 2008).

References:

  • Chou L. M., 2008. Nature and sustainability of the marine environment. In: Wong T. C. et al. (eds.). Spatial Planning for a Sustainable Singapore. 10: 169-182.
  • Davenport, J. & J. L. Davenport, 2006. The impact of tourism and personal leisure transport on coastal environments: a review. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. 67: 280-292.
  • Gomez, E. & E. F. B. Miclat, 2001. Sea turtles. In: Carpenter, K. E. & V. H. Niem (eds.). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 6. Bony Fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles, sea turtles, sea snakes and marine mammals. Rome, FAO. pp. 3973-3986.
  • Hazel, J., I. R. Lawler, H. March & S. Robson, 2007. Vessel speed increases collision risk for the Green Turtle Chelonia mydas. Endangered Species Research. 3: 105-113.
  • Lim, K. K. P., N. Baker, R. Teo & T. M. Leong, 2008. 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). pp. 160-176.
  • Tan, R., 2010. Sea turtles. Wild Shores of Singapore.
    http://www.wildsingapore.com/wildfacts/vertebrates/reptilia/seaturtle.htm [accessed on 9 December 2015].

Source: Singapore Biodiversity Records 2015: 212-213