Out of the murky waters rose two beady eyes. Then four, then six.
As the sun descended and the tide receded, three saltwater crocodiles had come out to feed.
We were at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on Wednesday where, on Nov 20, schoolchildren on a field trip saw one right on the footpath. That crocodile was barely 20m away, with nothing separating it from the children.
The crocodiles that we saw were safely in the water. But a visit to the spot where the children chanced upon the crocodile can be mildly unnerving. The footpath is barely 5m from the water at high tide and one wonders what is stopping crocodiles from slithering onto land more often.
Sungei Buloh is home to an estimated eight crocodiles, though they rarely rear their snouts.
Dr Benoit Goossens, who studies saltwater crocodiles in Sabah, Malaysia, said the one sighted on Nov 20 was basking, a process in which the reptile lies in the sun to regulate its body temperature.
It is a common thing, though crocodiles usually do it closer to water, Dr Goossens said.
He added that a basking crocodile is not dangerous, and the first thing it does when provoked is usually to "jump in the water for safety".
Even if not basking, only females protecting their eggs or crocodiles larger than 4m are dangerous to humans, Dr Goossens said.