Bishan otters produce 8th litter of pups and other wildlife sightings in Singapore

·Lifestyle Editor
·3 min read
Smooth-coated otter pups and sambar deer in Singapore. (Photos: Chun Kit Soo, Terry Shin)
Photos: Chun Kit Soo, Terry Shin

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

Rare sighting of Horsfield's flying squirrel 

The Horsfield’s flying squirrel, also called the Javanese flying squirrel, is commonly found in Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Java and Borneo. In Singapore, it can be found in the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves, as well as in Bukit Batok Nature Park.

While the Horsfield's flying squirrel is fairly common in Singapore's nature reserves, sightings of it are rare because it's a nocturnal animal and it moves swiftly, being able to glide from tree to tree using the folds of skin along its flanks which act as gliding membranes.

John Lee, a wildlife photography enthusiast, spotted a Horsfield's flying squirrel on 20 November and captured several photos of the elusive animal. John founded Wildlife Asia, an NGO which seeks to raise awareness of wildlife and conservation, and often goes on night trips to take photos of snakes and other animals.

Due to the "white eye" effect which occurs when using flash photography on animals at night, John digitally altered the eyes of the squirrel in his photos.

John Lee, a wildlife photography enthusiast, spotted a Horsfield's flying squirrel, or Javanese flying squirrel, in Singapore on the night of 20 November 2021 and captured several photos of the elusive animal. John digitally altered the eyes of the squirrel in his photos to cover the
Photo: John Lee
John Lee, a wildlife photography enthusiast, spotted a Horsfield's flying squirrel, or Javanese flying squirrel, in Singapore on the night of 20 November 2021 and captured several photos of the elusive animal. John digitally altered the eyes of the squirrel in his photos to cover the
Photo: John Lee
John Lee, a wildlife photography enthusiast, spotted a Horsfield's flying squirrel, or Javanese flying squirrel, in Singapore on the night of 20 November 2021 and captured several photos of the elusive animal. John digitally altered the eyes of the squirrel in his photos to cover the
Photo: John Lee
John Lee, a wildlife photography enthusiast, spotted a Horsfield's flying squirrel, or Javanese flying squirrel, in Singapore on the night of 20 November 2021 and captured several photos of the elusive animal. John digitally altered the eyes of the squirrel in his photos to cover the
Photo: John Lee

For those who are interested, here's a specimen picture of the squirrel.

The Javanese flying squirrel (Iomys horsfieldii) is a species of rodent in the family Sciuridae. 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 glide between trees, although they are more commonly spotted on trees. Oliver Soh shared her sighting of a mother colugo and its baby clinging onto a tree in the Singapore Wildlife Sightings Facebook group:

Colugo mother and baby on a tree in Singapore. (Screenshot from Facebook video by Oliver Soh)
Screenshot from video by Oliver Soh
Colugo mother and baby on a tree in Singapore. (Screenshot from Facebook video by Oliver Soh)
Screenshot from video by Oliver Soh

Bishan otters produce 8th litter of pups

The Bishan otters are one of the most successful families among the population of smooth-coated otters in Singapore. According to local otter enthusiasts, the "Bishan mum" gave birth to her eighth litter of pups recently. There were five pups in the litter. 

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

A photograph of the Bishan 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 night walk took a sudden and surprising turn when I spotted this curious individual a mere four metres away from me," wrote Robbin. "Six seconds was all it allowed me, but that was all the time I needed to get my shot. And as mysteriously as it appeared, it vanished into the vegetation, leaving me speechless and wonderstruck."

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

Sambar deer

There were a couple of sambar deer sightings in Singapore in the past month. 

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

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

Terry Shin caused quite 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 were decimated by game hunters and massive deforestation. The tiny population that currently roams the Mandai part of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve is thought to have descended from animals that escaped from the Singapore Zoo.

Check out our Sustainability page for more news about nature and sustainability.

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