Do you know that Singapore was recently featured in a BBC documentary on our wildlife species? How many wild animal species have you spotted in biodiversity-rich Singapore? Here are some of the top spots to meet the local fauna on your Singapore stopover or vacation, but remember to keep a safe distance and dress comfortably for our weather.
||Dairy Farm Nature Park, 100 Dairy Farm Rd, Singapore 679057
||24 Hours Daily|
Download a bird-watching map and smartphone app, and get your binoculars ready!
Home to almost 400 species of birds – from mynas and sparrows, to kingfishers, parakeets, egrets, and sunbirds – Singapore is an avi-fauna paradise. You can hear our fine feathered friends singing at virtually every corner of the island.
A good place to catch birds would be the former quarry at the newly expanded Dairy Farm Nature Park. Located close to Singapore’s largest nature reserve at Bukit Timah, the 63-hectare Dairy Farm Nature Park offers lots of trails for hiking and biking.
To catch the birds in action, it is important to go early in the morning – best at the break of dawn (5 am to 7 am) – or the evenings when they return to their homes to roost. Regular birders advise that you should use your ears and your eyes, so keeping silent is important for bird watchers.
Do also invest in a pair of binoculars (cheap ones will do), bring along a guidebook or download an app, and ensure that you’re protected from the Sun. Remember to also bring along water and snacks, and put on a comfortable pair of outdoor shoes.
Who knows, if you’re lucky enough, you may even be able to catch the Oriental Pied Hornbill.
||Bishan Park, along Bishan Road and Ang Mo Kio Ave 1, Singapore 569981
||24 hours daily
Did you know that there are two rival otter clans in Singapore: the Marina Bay otter family of 12, and the Bishan Park otter family of 10? Apparently, the original Marina family of otters were displaced by the Bishan family in territorial disputes!
Both are smooth-coated otters who have been winning hearts among local netizens in local waterways.
Seen near rivers, mangroves, mudflats and coastal areas such as Bishan Park, Marina Reservoir, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and Pulau Ubin, these smooth-coated otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) have made their presence felt in Singapore.
Small-clawed oriental otters (Amblonyx cinereus) can also be found in Singapore's remote outer islands. They are nocturnal and move around as solitary individuals instead of in groups. Cycling down the Singapore River might give you the best chance to snap a photo of otters. Do avoid using flash or making noise so as not to startle them. Keep an eye on Otterwatch to track down the latest sightings of these amphibious adventurers.
||Woodlands Waterfront Park, Admiralty Road West, Singapore 759956
||24 hours daily|
Do you know that the Banded leaf monkey (Raffles' banded langur, or Presbytis femoralis femorali), native to Singapore, is almost extinct here? Down to a population of 60, the monkey can only be found in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve now (Straits Times).
More often than not, if you do see a monkey in Singapore, it is likely to be a long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis). Over 1000 of them can be found in nature parks, rainforests, and offshore islands here.
Keep your food and belongings hidden though - monkeys are very intelligent and can be very mischievous!
One place to spot them is the 11-hectare Woodlands Waterfront Park, a relatively quiet, family-friendly spot close to the Causeway to Johor Bahru.
Featuring a seafood restaurant on the water, the park welcomes cyclists, joggers, fishers, and crabbers, and is linked to Singapore’s Park Connector Network. Woodlands Waterfront Park is accessible by bus 856 from the bus interchange near Woodlands MRT station.
||Lorong Halus Wetland, Pasir Ris
||Roads are open 24 hours daily but only recommended for the bold!
Wish to walk on the wild side? Well, why not wander to where wild boars (Sus scrofa) can be spotted?
Beyond Pulau Ubin where they are commonly sighted, residents in Singapore have reported sightings in the less developed parts of Punggol, Jurong West (e.g. near Nanyang Technological University), and Pasir Ris.
Do you know that besides the increasing boar population due to the absence of predators, female wild boars from 18 months of age can also start having four to six piglets every year?
Female boars with piglets tend to be protective of their young, so keeping your distance and having a camera with a good zoom lens is your best bet.
||Fort Canning Park, River Valley Rd, Singapore 179037
The ancestor of the domestic chicken, the Red Jungle Fowl (Gallus gallus), can be found right here in Singapore!
Some have been spotted near the Armenian Church and Fort Canning Hill right in the city!
Regular domestic chickens roam in Singapore too, though they are not often spotted. The recent culling of 24 chickens at Sin Ming Avenue by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority sparked off a discussion in Singapore about public health and animal welfare.
Thinking of raising a chicken in Singapore?
Poultry rearing is not allowed in apartments, but residents in private housing may keep up to 10 chickens at home within enclosures. You’ll probably want to get your neighbours in on the idea, since bird flu has been on the news in recent years.
Otherwise, stick to Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice at Maxwell Food Centre!
Get around Singapore on your holiday with a 1-, 2-, or 3-day tourist pass from S$6.70 per day, including bus, MRT train and LRT transportation. The Singapore Tourist Pass (1-day, 2-day, or 3-day) gives you unlimited public bus, MRT, and LRT travel, while the Singapore Tourist Pass Plus (1-day or 3-day) includes the above plus free admission to the Chinatown Heritage Centre and a complimentary Singapore Sling cocktail at D Happy Factory.
These passes are ideal for the traveller who decides on where to go and what to do in Singapore on the spur of the moment, or on the same day itself!
Learn more at the EZ-Link website.