Black-headed Collared Snake (Sibynophis melanocephalus)
Upper Seletar Reservoir, 6th May 2016
Pin-striped Tit-babbler (Mixornis gularis)
Upper Seletar Reservoir, 25th July 2015
Daphne Maia Loo, knowing about my morbid fascination with dead animals, posted a photo on my personal Facebook feed, alerting me to a dead bird she had found.
Recognising it as a Pin-striped Tit-babbler, I alerted another friend of mine, David Tan, who not only retrieves bird carcasses for research purposes, but also happens to study this species. He was able to rush down to the location that same evening, and was succesful in locating and collecting the carcass.
It’s interesting whenever social networks intersect due to encounters with wildlife (or in this case, carcasses); ordinary members of the public do have a vital role to play in documenting such encounters and alerting naturalists and researchers. Such an example was seen with the Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) carcass found off Jurong Island.
In this instance, this Pin-striped Tit-babbler carcass might provide clues as to the cause of death, while gut contents, genetic material, and other samples can give us a better picture of this animal’s life, such as its diet, or whether habitat fragmentation is leading to inbreeding in bird species confined within our forest patches. There’s still so little that we know about Southeast Asian wildlife, and carcasses provide a wealth of data that could be used in future to better protect these species and their habitats.
Find out how you can contribute to Monday Morgue as well.
Fig. 1. View of the Slow Loris carcass lying on its left side at the edge of the road.
Fig. 2. View of the section of Mandai Road where the Slow Loris carcass was found (at lower right corner of picture).
Photograph by Chan Sow Yan
Sunda Slow Loris (Nycticebus coucang) carcass along Mandai Road
Location, date and time: Singapore Island, Mandai Road near Orchidville plant nursery, on Ulu Sembawang side just before entrance of Lorong Lada Hitam; 6 July 2005; 0922 hrs.
Observation: The carcass of a loris, about 25 cm in head and body length, was found with no external injury at the side of the road.
Remarks: This example could have been hit by a motor vehicle and was assumed to have died the previous evening. It was collected and deposited in the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at the National University of Singapore. This record is mentioned in Fam et al. (2014: 72) who also question the status of Slow Lorises on Singapore Island. As lorises were frequently traded through Singapore, the population there may consist partly of non-indigenous animals that had been abandoned.
- Fam S. D., B. P. Y.-H. Lee & M. Shekelle, 2014. The conservation status of slow lorises Nycticebus spp. in Singapore. Endangered Species Research. 25: 69-77.
Miko, sub alpha male from Mandai B13 troop died this morning after being knocked down by a car. Heartbreaking to see a Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) you are very familiar with gone just like that. Could only dispose of his body which was lying in the middle lane. Thankful that vehicles slowed down instead of running over him again. I find myself constantly driving at the edge of my seat whenever i’m on Mandai Road. There are so much disturbances going on in Mandai with construction etc. I worry for all the native wildlife living there. They have been tolerating so much but it is taking its toll. RIP big boy.
Fig. 1. Dorsal view of roadkill Jasper Cat Snake (ZRC 2.7020).
Fig. 2. Ventral view of roadkill Jasper Cat Snake (ZRC 2.7020).
(Photographs by Noel Thomas)
Jasper Cat Snake (Boiga jaspidea) roadkill at Upper Seletar
Location, date and time: Singapore Island, Upper Seletar area; 13 March 2013; 1150 hrs.
Observation: A female measuring 120 centimetres total length was found on the road, freshly killed by a vehicle (Fig. 1). It had sustained fatal injuries to the anterior portion of the body which was flattened.
Remarks: The specimen was collected by the contributor who then deposited it in the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research at the National University of Singapore under the catalogue number ZRC 2.7020.
In Singapore, the Jasper Cat Snake occurs in mature forest in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and on Pulau Tekong (Baker & Lim, 2012: 95). As it is rarely seen, it is regarded as a ‘critically endangered’ species within Singapore (Lim et al., 2008: 162).
- 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., Baker, N., Teo, R. & 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. The Nature Society (Singapore). pp. 160–176.