Urban jungle: Urban S'pore continues to see wild animals


Snakes were found in two swimming pools recently - at the Toa Payoh Swimming Complex on Tuesday and a Pasir Ris condominium on March 27.

The snake at Toa Payoh, found during the pool's half-day weekly maintenance, was a reticulated python.

The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) was called to remove the snake and release it into the wild.

The reticulated python is non-venomous and kills its prey by constricting it with its body.

Miss Anbarasi Boopal, Acres' group director of wildlife, said this was the third such case they had handled.

She said pythons are good swimmers, and the snakes may have entered the pool to "hide".

Like humans, snakes are not harmed by short-term exposure to chlorine in the water, she said.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) advisory on snakes states that the public should not confront the snake but to keep an eye on it from a safe distance and note where it goes while calling the relevant authorities for help.


Residents of Block 810, Yishun Ring Road, saw an unusual bystander at their lift lobby on Sept 21 last year.

It was a monitor lizard, over 1m long.

The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) later coaxed the lizard out of the lobby, caught it and released it in Yishun Neighbourhood Park.

Monitor lizards are carnivorous, but they scavenge more than hunt. Their usual habitats are near water bodies or forested areas, but they can turn up in other areas when scavenging for food. Acres' Miss Anbarasi Boopal said monitor lizards are calm and generally "shy" around humans, but may whip their tails or bite if provoked. BEES A family found a beehive in their air-conditioning unit in their Redhill flat last month.

The family hired pest controllers to kill the bees.

Dr John Ascher, an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore's Department of Biological Science, said that the species of bees that is mostly responsible for the hives found in urban areas, the Asian Honey Bee, is not particularly aggressive and therefore, not very dangerous.

"This species rarely poses a great danger to non-allergic passers-by even though it is very common in urban Singapore," he said.

As the bees seek cavities with small holes to build their hives in, Dr Ascher advised that it is best to find and seal such holes to avoid ending up living with a beehive.


In May last year, a resident living on an 11th-storey flat in Telok Blangah Drive got a rude shock when she found a monkey climbing on her balcony grilles, baring its teeth and screeching loudly.

Miss Anbarasi said that monkeys are known to use residential areas to travel between forested areas, and would not linger unless they have been offered food.

She said: "It is important to not have any food available for the monkeys, even in the trash."

She also cautioned against smiling at the monkeys if they bare their teeth at you.

"These are signs that the monkey is frightened, and doing so may threaten them more.

"Don't stare back and just move away slowly."


A wild boar injured a Cisco officer and attacked a young boy in an incident at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on June 22, 2012.

When asked about the wild boar's aggressive behaviour, Miss Anbarasi said wild boar are actually prey animals by nature and will choose to flee most of the time if approached.

But they can grow to a considerable size and weight. So should they start charging, the impact could be huge.

Nevertheless, she stressed the importance of not approaching them: "Wild boar are actually very shy. So it is important to keep a fair distance and not approach them.

"Also refrain from making sudden movements so as to not startle them."

This article was published on May 2 in The New Paper.

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