Thursday, March 25, 2010

Things I Find in the Woods Part Four

I hope everyone enjoys blog posts about the animals, plants, and other stuff that I find at Bukit Timah, because I definitely enjoy doing these posts!

Sometimes the monkeys get to a place where I can't follow them, like when they climb the walls and get inside a gated condo complex. When that happens, I just kind of have to hang around and wait for them to either wander back out, or come racing back out as they get chased by an angry guard wielding a broom. I was waiting on them one day when I found this lovely orange butterfly. I especially liked the underside of its wing.  It's a type of butterfly known as a cruiser.I loved this sweet teeny snail, but I couldn't get a very good photo.I also struggled to get a good photo of an orange bird in the woods. I have no idea what its called- any birders out there wanna help me out? (Apparently this is an orange-headed thrush- thanks, Ivan!)Just the other day, I was watching one specific monkey as he went about his business, eating leaves from a small tree. Suddenly, he leaped back from the tree and backed up a few paces, eyeing the tree cautiously. I went over to inspect the tree and found an Oriental whip snake!! These snakes are venomous, but their poison is so mild that it's harmless to humans. I was very excited, because I've been waiting to see one of these for awhile, but they're very difficult to spot due to their superb camouflage. Their bright green color and long skinny bodies allow them to blend seamlessly with the green vines of the jungle. They even sway back and forth when the wind blows the plants around them! In fact, when I first looked at the tree I didn't see the snake at all- then he slithered and his movement made him stand out to me. Of course, I went camera crazy on this guy.The snake was moving around a bit, so he kept getting obscured behind the leaves and I wouldn't be able to see his head for a minute or so. I was also paying attention to the monkeys, because Izzy had suddenly developed a keen interest in my backpack. When I looked back at the snake, I couldn't believe my eyes. The snake had a lizard in his mouth! The snake was right along a sidewalk, and there were people walking by as I contorted myself into ridiculous positions, trying to get good photos without any leaves in the way. But no one saw the snake, so I must have just looked like a REALLY enthusiastic botanist. But I didn't care- I had a front row seat for dinnertime! I assumed that the lizard was dead already, but I was wrong and it soon started thrashing around, struggling to get away. I felt bad for the poor little guy, and hoped that the snake would kill him quickly, since he obviously wasn't going to get away. As expected, the snake eventually won out and swallowed the lizard. As he gulped him down whole, his body expanded and revealed black scales underneath his bright green ones. This snake pretty much made my week. I think that I might be an 8-year-old boy trapped inside a 25-year-old woman's body.These big, bodacious bat lilies were growing along the main path.I took a fun video of a curious little macaque approaching a monitor lizard, and then getting a tail whip from the lizard for getting too close! It's posted here.

Walking through a field one day, I found this desiccated snake carcass.This skink is great. I think he looks awfully suspicious of something. I can't really look at the picture without thinking "WHAT YOU TALKIN' BOUT, WILLIS?!"
I've also seen a few green-crested lizards lately. They're also extraordinarily disguised and difficult to find, but I love looking at them when I finally find them. I think the purple coloration around their eyes makes them look like little reptilian bandits.I'll keep looking for more fun nature stuff, but I think it's going to take awhile to top the lizard-eating snake!


  1. That bird is probably the orange-headed thrush (Zoothera citrina), an uncommon winter visitor to Singapore. According to Lim Kim Seng's The Avifauna of Singapore, most records for this species come from Bukit Timah and Hindhede.

  2. Thank you! I was wondering about that one!