Guide to spotting the less common animals in Singapore

by Chan Kwok Wai
Colugo high on a tree

You may wonder where do I photographed these animals? Some of you may be even doubtful whether these animals do actually exist in Singapore.

The truth is, many of the animal images featured in this website are the results of spending countless hours visiting nature places on a regularly basis. Spotting the less common animals requires patience and luck. Getting nice images of these elusive animals requires more than just patience and luck; you will need to be very knowledgable about these animals.

Here are some tips in improving your chance of spotting the less common animals in Singapore.

First, get yourself a guidebook such as Wild Animals of Singapore

Read through once so that you know what are the animals that can be found in Singapore. Knowing more about the animals improve your chance of spotting them. You need to know its habitat; whether it is active by day or night; is it arboreal or terrestrial; is it solitary? What's its diet? Once you have answers to these questions, you will have a better idea where and when to look. You may need to read several guidebooks/field guides just to get yourself familiar with the animals. Visit this link for books I am recommending.

<The image on the right shows a colugo on a evening, high up on a tree. Colugos are active by night and arboreal. >

Visit our nature places on a frequent basis

Many of our animals are uncommon and dwell in very low population. Thus you should consider lucky if you chance upon them. Visit the nature places more regularly helps to improve your chance of spotting them. Don't be despair easily because even I myself have some animals in my "wanted to see" list! There are even more in my "wanted to photograph" list!Lesser Mousedeer at a distance

Be patient in the forest

Never give up. Take your time in the forest. Many animals are well-camouflage, you may miss them if you are rushing. Stay on track and on the boardwalk as bashing your way into the forest will only scare them away.

Be quiet when you are in the forest

Most animals shy away from noise. Avoid nature places that are crowded with visitors, so you need to time your visit. Places like Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and MacRitchie Reservoir Park can be crowded in the morning and evening with joggers. So stay out from peak hours!

Observe for slight movement or pattern, fruiting season

Most animals remain still during the first contact. Usually, they spotted you first before you spotted them. They may begin to make a move when they feel unthreaten. So take regular break in your walk and observe closely for slight movement and pattern. Trees that are fruiting may attract animals both day and night. So stick around longer and see what you can find.

<Can you spot the mousedeer in the picture on the left? Some animals can be difficult to spot especially when hidden in thick foliages. This mousedeer was keeping very still when it spotted me. It was keeping alert and sensing for any danger.>


Black-bearded Draco camouflage

Listen out for calls

Learn to recognize calls. Some animals give alarmed calls when threatened.

Join guided walks and surveys

You can learn from the guides. You can check-out this link on what's happening.

<Can you spot a well-camouflaged draco on the picture on the right? It is not easy to spot but when you move yourself adjacent to it, you will be able to see its silhouette.>

Have fun spotting!










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