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Report from Singapore

PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:57 pm
by Guillaume Blanchet
Hi Folk,
I wanted to share with you my herping time when I stayed in Singapore (2014-2015). Despite the fact that the city is highly developed and populated, many green areas subsist (parks, gardens, patches of secondary to degraded primary forest and even mangroves). I think I will keep posting in the topic for the next few weeks to cover these different habitats and the associated reptiles or amphibians found.

As a snake enthusiast, I must in first place introduce to you some of the inhabitants of the mangroves found after the sundown. Interestingly they belong mainly to the homalopsid. A family of rear-fanged snakes found in aquatic environment from Pakistan to Australia.

The most commonly spotted in the Singaporean mangroves was the dog-faced water snakes (Cerberus schneiderii), hunting mainly on fishes and usually found in water and small ponds.

I was lucky enough to find few crab-eating homalopsids: the crab-eating water snake (Fordonia leucobalia) and the rare Gerard’s water snake (Gerarda prevostiana). Both eat crabs, but it was demonstrated that Gerard’s water snake hunt mostly freshly moulted crabs (= soft shell). In other hand, the crab-eating water snake attack mostly hard shell crabs. And believe me… crabs in the mangroves are really an abundant prey items…

An adult dog-faced water snake (Cerberus schneiderii) crawling on the floor, from pond to pond at low tide.

Young_Cerberus_ hunting for fish.jpg
A young dog-faced water snake (Cerberus schneiderii) in ambush like position, waiting for fish (??). I have often seen this snake like this, in few centimetres of water.

Mangrove forest at low tide showing the mudflat. It’s in that mud and small water ponds that most of the snakes where found.

A Thalassina sp nest. It was reported as the daily shelter for the mangrove homalopsids.

An adult crab-eating water snake (Fordonia leucobalia) at the entrance of a crab burrow. Presumably hunting.

Same snake, posing for the camera.

The rare Gerard’s water snake (Gerarda prevostiana). The only one found after 3 evenings in the mangrove, more than 30 Cerberus and 5 Fordonia were already spotted at that time.

An adult wolf snake (Lycodon capucinus) found on the board-walk. This lizard hunting species was found at the mangrove entrance, meters away from the salty mud.

Hope you enjoyed the post!!



Re: Report from Singapore

PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 8:02 pm
by Peter Engelen
Very nice findings. Time to visit Singapore also.
Aren't there Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus in this mangrove?


Re: Report from Singapore

PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:03 pm
by Guillaume Blanchet
Hi Peter,

Yes! I have found this species a few times also, but always at day time, resting on branches.

An adult of Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus, resting on branches at day time near the walking path.

Same specimen, head close-up


Re: Report from Singapore

PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 7:42 pm
by Bobby Bok
Amazing collection of snakes, also interesting to read a little about the numbers you found!

Re: Report from Singapore

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:15 am
by Gabriel Martínez
Wow! That black vipers are amazing!

Re: Report from Singapore

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:00 am
by Kristian Munkholm
Very nice.

Looking forward to the rest :)

Re: Report from Singapore

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 6:16 pm
by Guillaume Blanchet
Thanks :)

Here some other animals sighted at day time in the mangrove:
It’s very easy to spot the Asian water monitor (Varanus salvator), adults are everywhere!! Swimming, climbing, patrolling or simply sleeping on the ground…

Asian water monitor (Varanus salvator), an adult patrolling the mangrove at low tide.

A water monitor shown in a defensive display. Not my wish, it was lying there and blocking the path…

Young monitor lizards are harder to find, but very beautiful :)

Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) can be observed in Singaporean mangroves, thought to make a great come back there! This one, around one and half meter long, was found in a freshwater pond:
Crocodilus_porosus_in situ.jpg
Crocodylus porosus, young adult.

Head close-up of the same specimen.

Many other “common species” of lizards and snakes can also be found in the mangrove or in the forest near-by. I heard of the presence of the king cobra but have not seen one.

The changeable lizard (Calotes versicolor).

A painted bronzeback (Dendrelaphis picutus) presumably basking under early morning sun.



Re: Report from Singapore

PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2015 11:13 am
by Andre Schmid
Very nice ! Thanks for sharing.

Re: Report from Singapore

PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:19 pm
by Michal Szkudlarek
Thanks for interesting report!

A water monitor shown in a defensive display

By defensive display you mean making its jowl bigger?

Re: Report from Singapore

PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:06 pm
by Tim Leerschool
Thanks for sharing! Such a cool find that Gerarda prevostiana! Such weird behaviour :shock: