When you visit Singapore you’d be forgiven for expecting an island with a city that spreads from coast to coast. Whilst it’s true that Singapore is a city nation, it’s also surprising to discover that Singapore has its fair share of wildlife too.
It’s a little known fact that Singapore has plenty of fauna, despite the notorious deforestation that occurred there towards the end of the 1900s. The rapid urbanisation may have curtailed the spread of the fauna on the island, but it certainly hasn’t curtailed its diversity. It continues to thrive in the various nature reserves across Singapore, though it has to be pointed out that these cover just 0.25% of the island.
It’s true that if you’re considering where to stay in Singapore you’re infinitely more likely to find an apartment in an urban setting than a rural one.
The number of animals that are naturally found in Singapore is quite a large one, but it has to be said that there are plenty whose numbers have dwindled in recent years.
There are eighty species of mammal in Singapore, with only one of them, the variable squirrel, having been introduced from outside the natural ecosystem.
This list of eighty includes 45 different types of bat, though these are one of the animals whose numbers have been severely affected by urbanisation.
There are 180 species of birds that call Singapore home, plus a further 215 that are occasional residents due to migration.
There are 75 different types of snake resident on the island, which form the greatest part of the list of 110 reptiles, the largest of which is the Estuarine Crocodile.
There are 30 species of amphibian which can be seen on the island including the Copper Cheeked Frog and the Four-ridged Toad. The notorious pest, the American Bullfrog is one of two amphibian species that has been introduced into the country.
So what is the best way to see all of this wildlife? It’s true that apart from a handful of urban adapting snakes, and of course bats, you’re unlikely to see many of these animals in the city.
The vast majority of them live in the nature reserves of Singapore, which since the 1990s have been strongly protected by the government, to avoid the loss and extinction that took place rapidly during the beginning of the last century.
These reserves include the Sungei Buloh Wetland, an invaluable park due to its importance to migrating birds, as well as the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, one of the largest patches of rainforest still standing in Singapore. It is also located on Singapore’s tallest hill.
You can also visit some of these animals in Singapore Zoo. Zoos may now be invaluable institutions who strive to ensure the survival of animal species, but you are still looking at animals outside of their natural habitat.
However, next door to the zoo is one of the best ways to view Singapore’s wildlife as well as wildlife from across the world.
A huge amount of the country’s fauna are nocturnal animals, so the Night Safari is a great way to appreciate that as well as the general world of the nocturnal creature.
The Night Safari is split into seven different habitats, each one with its own district array of amazing creatures from 130 species. There are over 2,500 animals that have their home here within the 35 hectares.
These do include some of the species that have sadly become extinct in the country due to Singapore’s rapid development, including the Malayan Tapir, the Asian Elephant and the Malayan Tiger. There are also plenty of species which have never been native to Singapore but are included in the park, such as wallabies and various animals from the African savannah.
Don’t worry, although the majority of animals are peaceful and can be found free roaming the park alongside you, the more ferocious ones, like the tigers and leopards, are kept a little more securely!
There is a 35 minute tram ride which will take you to all habitats in the park. The live commentary included in the ride gives you some insight into the animals you are looking at.
The best way to see everything though is to get out and walk one of the four trails which have been laid out across the park. After all, not every animal can be seen from a moving tram.
As well as the trails there are also two huge aviaries. These are home to giant flying squirrels and Malayan flying foxes, both of which can be heard swooping from tree to tree as you crane your neck for a glimpse.
All in all, the Singapore Night Safari is far and away the best way to get back to nature, when the crowded city may be getting you down.