Bishan’s 8th litter of otter puppies and other sightings

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Photos: Chun Kit Soo, Terry Shin

Singapore’s urban and green environment is home to a rich abundance of magnificent wildlife that we don’t often see. In our Wildlife Around Singapore series, we share some interesting flora and fauna that have been observed around the island.

Rare sighting of Horsfield’s flying squirrel

The Horsfield flying squirrel, also known as the Java flying squirrel, is commonly found in Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Java, and Borneo. In Singapore, it is found in Bukit Timah and Central Basin Nature Reserves, as well as Bukit Batok Nature Park.

While the Horsfield’s flying squirrel is quite common in nature reserves in Singapore, sightings are rare as it is a nocturnal animal and it moves quickly, being able to glide from tree to tree using the folds of skin along of its sides which act like slippery membranes.

John Lee, an avid wildlife photography enthusiast, spotted a Horsfield flying squirrel on November 20 and took several photos of the elusive animal. John has digitally altered the squirrel’s eyes in his photos to cover the “white eye” effect that occurs when using flash photographs of animals at night.

John Lee, an avid wildlife photography enthusiast, spotted a Horsfield flying squirrel, or Java flying squirrel, in Singapore on the night of November 20, 2021 and took several photos of the elusive animal.  John has digitally altered the squirrel's eyes in his photos to cover the

Photo: John Lee

John Lee, an avid wildlife photography enthusiast, spotted a Horsfield flying squirrel, or Java flying squirrel, in Singapore on the night of November 20, 2021 and took several photos of the elusive animal.  John has digitally altered the squirrel's eyes in his photos to cover the

Photo: John Lee

John Lee, an avid wildlife photography enthusiast, spotted a Horsfield flying squirrel, or Java flying squirrel, in Singapore on the night of November 20, 2021 and took several photos of the elusive animal.  John has digitally altered the squirrel's eyes in his photos to cover the

Photo: John Lee

John Lee, an avid wildlife photography enthusiast, spotted a Horsfield flying squirrel, or Java flying squirrel, in Singapore on the night of November 20, 2021 and took several photos of the elusive animal.  John has digitally altered the squirrel's eyes in his photos to cover the

Photo: John Lee

For those interested, here is a specimen photo of the squirrel.

The Java flying squirrel (Iomys horsfieldii) is a species of rodent in the Sciuridae family.  It is found in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.  Isolated on white background

Photo: Getty Images

Colugo mother and baby

Like the flying squirrel, colugos can also hover between trees, although they are more often spotted on trees. Oliver Soh shared his sighting of a colugo mother and baby hanging from a tree in the Singapore Wildlife Sightings Facebook group:

Mother and baby colugo on a tree in Singapore.  (Screenshot from Oliver Soh's Facebook video)

Screenshot of Oliver Soh’s video

Mother and baby colugo on a tree in Singapore.  (Screenshot from Oliver Soh's Facebook video)

Screenshot of Oliver Soh’s video

Bishan otters produce 8th litter of puppies

Bishan otters are one of the most successful families among Singapore’s smooth-coated otter population. According to local otter enthusiasts, “Mama Bishan” recently gave birth to her eighth litter of puppies. There were five puppies in the litter.

Singapore Bishan otters in this photo dated November 2021 (Photo: Chun Kit Soo)

Photo: Chun Kit Soo

Singapore Bishan otters in this photo dated November 2021 (Photo: Chun Kit Soo)

Photo: Chun Kit Soo

A photograph of Bishan’s otters won a Comedy Wildlife Photography Award last week.

leopard cat

Robbin Tan shared his encounter with a leopard cat in the Singapore Wildlife Sightings group.

Robbin Tan shared his encounter with a leopard cat in the Singapore Wildlife Sightings group in November 2021. (Photo: Robbin Tan)

Robbin Tan shared his encounter with a leopard cat in the Singapore Wildlife Sightings group in November 2021. (Photo: Robbin Tan)

“My nighttime walk took a sudden and surprising turn when I spotted this curious individual just four meters away from me,” Robbin wrote. “Six seconds was all it got me, but that was all the time I needed to get my photo. And as mysteriously as it appeared, it vanished into the vegetation, leaving me without voice and amazed. “

The leopard cat is a small wild cat, similar in size to the domestic cat, found throughout Asia. According to Marcus Chua, a leopard cat researcher, there are around 20 cats on Pulau Tekong and less than 20 on mainland Singapore.

Sambar deer

There have been a few sightings of sambar deer in Singapore over the past month.

Juliane Bailey came across a lone deer grazing, which she shared with the Singapore Wildlife Sightings group:

Sambar deer grazing in Singapore.  (Screenshot from Juliane Bailey's Facebook video)

Screenshot of Juliane Bailey’s Facebook video

Terry Shin caused a stir among wildlife enthusiasts last month when he shared photos of not one, not two, but a family of three sambar deer.

Sambar deer grazing in Singapore.  (Photo: Terry Shin / Facebook)

Photo: Terry Shin

Sambar deer grazing in Singapore.  (Photo: Terry Shin / Facebook)

Photo: Terry Shin

Sambar deer are native to Singapore but their numbers have been decimated by game hunters and massive deforestation. The small population currently roaming the Mandai portion of the Central Basin Nature Reserve is believed to be descended from animals that escaped the Singapore Zoo.

Check out our Sustainability page for more information on nature and sustainability.


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