Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Blog

I'll be posting on a new blog... Do come and visit! :) Wildlife Wonders.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Asian Medicinal Leech (Hirudinaria manillensis)

"Yuck a leech!"

That is what almost everyone say when they see these annelids attached to their leg, enjoying a buffet with free flow. But did you know that leeches have been used for medical purposes? Yup, you can have doctors placing a leech on your arm.
Before looking at the picture, lets learn a bit more about our slimy friends, shall we?
Leeches are annelids comprising the subclass Hirudinea. There are fresh water, terrestrial, and marine leeches. Like their near relatives, the Oligochaeta, they share the presence of a clitellum. Like earthworms, leeches are hermaphrodites. There are 650 known species of leeches. The Hirudo leech has three jaws with 100 teeth on each jaw - making 300 teeth in all.Thats a lot of teeth biting into you. The Medicinal Leech(Hirudo medicinalis) which is native to Europe, and its congeners have been used for clinical bloodletting for thousands of years.
Medicinal leeches are any of a group of several species of leeches but most commonly European Medical Leech(Hirudo medicinalis). Other species sometimes referred to as Medical Leeches include: Hirudo verbana, Macrobdella decora (North American Medical Leech), Hirudo troctina, Hirudo orientalis and Hirudinaria manillensis (Asian Medicinal Leech).
Today, doctors use leeches for treating abscesses, painful joints, glaucoma, myasthenia, and to heal venous diseases and thrombosis. Medical leeches are used in plastic surgery, for improving blood circulation and for curing infertility. The secret of all this leech miracles lies in the leech saliva.
Ok then, after reading the long, wordy text above about the Medicinal Leech, you might be keen to see some pictures. If you have a phobia of leeches, its alright, you can read the other posts and give this a miss.

The Asian Medicinal Leech (Hirudinaria manillensis)

You can almost see the teeth.

"Yummy blood!"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Trip to Bukit Timah Hill(12/11)

Note: Just enjoy the pics if you do not wish to read the texts or if you do not know how to read.

During this trip to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, my friend and I spotted many interesting creatures.

We were walking along Taban Loop, when suddenly my friend shouted, "Stick insect!" I had never seen a stick insect in the wild before, so I was really excited when my friend spotted it. It was really well camouflaged, and would need a pair of very good eyes to spot it. You would never believe how well it mimicked a broken stick. We moved on after we took some shots of it.

We came out of Taban Loop and moved on to Jungle Fall Path. There, another surprise awaited us. My friend spotted a Earless Agamid. Take a guess why is it called Earless Agamid? Well, not because it has no ears, for every lizard does not have one, but because its tympanum(ear opening) is hidden. Agamid mainly means lizard, so no questions on that one.

We took a few shots of the agamid, and exited the Jungle Fall Path. While we were walking down the main path, a man told us about a green snake he spotted near the visitor centre. He led us down to where he spotted it. On our way down, we resisted the urge to run. When we reached the place, the snake was no longer at its usual place. Both of us knew that the snake could not have gone far, and decided to look for it. This time, I spotted it. It was a Malayan Whip Snake. It was resting at the base of a small plant. This was the second or third snake we spotted this day. Second or third? Yup, we saw a Spotted Keelback during our hike in the Jungle Fall Path. Then isn't the green snake the second snake? Well, when the Spotted Keelback slithered into the vegetation, another one slithered out. We were not sure whether it was the same snake or not. However, we could not take any pictures as the snakes were moving too fast. Anyway, back to the Malayan Whip Snake. It tried to slither away but we managed to bring it onto a stick so we could take more pictures of it. After that, we let it go.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Reticulated Python

A stroll in a park can lead to exciting discoveries.
When you enter a park, what do you see? Trees? Obviously. Mosquitoes? Lots of them. Maybe a few birds? Yes. Anything interesting? Not really.
Why not look up at a tree, like the one above, shot in West Coast Park? What do you see? Leaves? Duh. What else?
The sky... and... wait a minute... What is that thing in the middle of the picture?
Lets move to a different angle shall we?

Hmm... Still not clear enough? Ok then. Lets stop torturing your eyes on the above picture and look at the shot below.

Yikes! A snake! Not just any old snake, its the Reticulated Python. Also known as Python reticulatus. The world's longest snake and obviously, also the longest of all reptiles, reaching up to about 8.7 m long. However, they are relatively slim for their length and are certainly not the most heavily built.
The colour pattern is a complex geometric pattern that incorporates different colours. The back typically has a series of irregular diamond shapes which are flanked by smaller markings with light centers. In this species' wide range, much variation of size, colour, and markings commonly occurs.
In zoo exhibits the colour pattern may seem garish, but in a shadowy jungle environment amid fallen leaves and debris it allows them to virtually disappear. Called a disruptive colouration, it protects them from predators and helps them to catch their prey.
This nocturnal snake is both terrestrial and arboreal, catching small mammals and birds, and strangling them before swallowing them whole.
Reticulated Pythons can be found in most habitats from forest to mangroves, and often near human habitation.
They are capable of overpowering a person, so my advice to you is not to go near one if you ever meet one.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dragons of the Insect Kingdom

Dragonflies are a well known and fascinating order of insects.
They have strong biting mouthparts and are active and aggressive carnivores, preying mostly on other insects. Dragonflies are also the closest thing the natural world has got to a helicopter. The insects do not simply flap their wings, but twist them back and forth to create a little vortex that lifts the insect.

These dragonfly pictures are taken in my school. All of them are called the Slender Skimmer.

Check out its compound eyes.

These eyes may each contain as many as 30 000 individual lenses. Because of this, dragonflies have exceptionally good eyesight and have been known to respond to movements from more than 40 feet away.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Colourful Snake

You might have seen this snake before.

The snake you are staring at now is called the Paradise Tree Snake. I found this beauty along the entrance of Sungei Buloh, chewing on a yummy gecko. If you want to see it without travelling far, you can look for it in your garden. This creature can be found everywhere in Singapore, even in urban gardens. It is mildly venomous and feeds mainly on lizards and small birds, and is also capable of gliding. Some individuals, like this one, have red 'flower' pattern along the middle of the back.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Spidey Spider

Tarantulas are a group of hairy and often very large spiders belonging to the family Theraphosidae, of which approximately 900 species have been identified. Tarantulas hunt prey in both trees and on the ground. All tarantulas can emit silk; while arboreal species will typically reside in a silken "tube web", terrestrial species will line their burrows or lairs with web to catch wandering prey. They mainly eat insects and other arthropods, using ambush as their primary method. The biggest tarantulas can kill animals as large as lizards, mice, or birds. Most tarantulas are harmless to humans, and some species are popular in the exotic pet trade while others are eaten as food. These spiders are found in tropical and desert regions around the world.
In Singapore, there is a spider, at around 20 mm, is lurking in your garden. Though the Singapore Tarantula has a 'tarantula' in its name, it does not grow to gigantic sizes. It is common around leaf litters and under rocks and pieces of wood.
I have found a few around my block but they were too fast. Once you lift up a rock, it will immediately crawl into a hiding place.

This Singapore Tarantula was shot at West Coast Park. If you observe closely, you can see the tiny hairs on its body. You can see that it has lined its lair with web.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Frog Faces

Frogs are slimy and disgusting to look at. Is that true?
Frogs might be slimy but they are interesting in their own way. They sometimes do the impossible. Take the American Bullfrog for example, they would like to participate in any challenge. They sometimes eat preys bigger than themselves. They have been observed to eat snakes too!

This dead American Bullfrog was found in west coast park. American Bullfrogs are not supposed to be found in S'pore but some inconsiderate people have released it into the wild. Why is this bad? Since American Bullfrogs eat almost anything, they are a threat to our ecosystem. We call this an introduction of an alien species.
Before I make my way home, my friend lifted up a small piece of wood. We found this cute Banded Bullfrog underneath it.
A few people said they saw black snakes, most likely the Equatorial Spitting Cobra, in west coast park. Unfortunately, we did not see any. I hope to find one on our next trip to west coast park.

Deadly Front Legs

Have you seen a praying mantis before? It might have flown into your home or you might have spotted it when you are outside. Most of the ones I have seen are green.
This little guy was spotted in my school. Its quite small. My friend spotted it and we took some pics.
This handsome one was spotted at west coast park. It is an ant-mimic praying mantis. It mimics an ant because ants most animals like birds does not want to mess with ants. Most ants have a painful bite.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rest in Peace, Little Birdy

Some of you might have seen dead birds before.
It might be a Rock Pigeon, Common Myna, Javan Myna or a sparrow.
Well, I had recently encountered a dead bird which was most likely a female Asian Koel. It was found dead near Jurong East interchange.

I found this Asian Koel dead. I was on my way home from Jurong Bird park. There were ants surrounding it. There was a hole where the eye was supposed to be. This proved that the bird had been dead for a few hours.

My brother threw a mealworm at the ants. You might not see the mealworm in this picture...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Meet My Mink-Hooded Rat

"Eewww... A rat! Kill it!"
Sounds familiar? This is what most people say when they meet a rat close up. I know most of you think that a rat is plain dirty, spread diseases and bites people. But not all. A captive rat is one of the best pets to be kept. They come in a few different colours and they like to be cuddled. And most of all, they don't spread diseases. If you observe a captive rat, you often see them grooming themselves. They like cleanliness and sometimes are observed to drop their feaces at a spot.
I know all this because I have a pet rat at home. If you are tired of wild animals, this might brighten you up.
I bought my rat from a place called farmart. The pet shop there sells gerbils, mice, parrots, birds, rats and rabbits. Is a nice place, really. They also have a place for you to fish for prawns.
Enjoy the pictures of my rat.

My rat clinging onto my arm. Trust me, he is better now. He is now able to climb up my arm and onto my shoulder.

"What is that strange flash of light?"

"Interesting articles..."

Examining the sofa after 'reading' the newspaper.

"Oops... There is a spot on my fur. Time to groom myself."

"Is that irritating flash of light again! Wonder what that human is doing."

Ok... My rat is complaining. I will stop here.