It’s Halloween – you know what that means! But while most of us only think about the supernatural, spooky, and scary at this time of the year, MacRitchie Forest comes alive with its very own creatures of the night. Here, we bring you face to face with 5 of MacRitchie Forest’s creepiest, scariest, and also cutest nocturnal animals.
MacRitchie’s night sentries:
Lesser Dog-Faced Fruit Bat
Apart from its interesting name, this fruit bat has the potential to look extremely scary…
The Lesser Dog-faced Fruit Bat (image credit: Jacqueline Chua)
but at other times, cute!
image credit: Jacqueline Chua
The Lesser Dog-faced Fruit Bat is common in Southeast Asia; it can be found in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, and of course, Singapore– in our very own MacRitchie Forest! During the day, it can be found roosting under shaded trees, and feeds on small fruits, figs, and nectar. These bats play an important role in plant pollination, and several plants depend on them for seed dispersal. Don’t be afraid if you see them– these fruit bats like bananas, not blood!
Several species of scorpions can be found in Singapore, with the Wood Scorpion, Asian Forest Scorpion and Bark Scorpion being just a few of them. It’s not clear as to how many species of scorpions there are in Singapore, since studies on them are limited. However, scorpions do live in the MacRitchie Forest!
These nocturnal creatures can often be found scuttling around at night. Although their nocturnal habits make the scorpion hard to find, it is known that scorpions are known to glow when exposed to ultraviolet light, due to certain chemicals in their exoskeletons!
a scorpion glowing in ultraviolet light (image credit: Ron Yeo)
If you do encounter a scorpion, leave it alone; scorpions hardly threaten humans, and will usually retreat.
Sunda Scops Owl
The Sunda Scops Owl (image credit: Jensen Seah)
This fluffy, small, and usually brown owl is one of the most common owls of Singapore! This owl has a distinctive, whooping call (which is akin to a who-whok sound). A (often) grumpy looking bird, this owl can be found hunting for prey at night; it lives on a diet of insects, rodents, small birds, and lizards.
Climbing on a tree: the Sunda Pangolin (image credit: Wildlife Singapore)
Easily identifiable by its scaled body, this pangolin can be found climbing, using its muscular tail, up trees when it is active! It feeds on ants and termites, licking them off with its tongue, which is long and sticky. It uses its strong fore feet, and claws to dig out these insects.
Known to coil themselves into balls when threatened or attacked, these pangolins rely on their overlapping scales as a means of defence, leading the NUS Drongos to design this sticker….
image credit: NUS BES Drongos
Wildlife Singapore has classified the Sunda Pangolin as a vulnerable species, citing habitat destruction as one of the main threats to its existence.
Common Palm Civet
The Common Palm Civet (image credit: David Wells)
Cute, quiet, and shy, this little animal comes alive at night. Found in many areas throughout Singapore including MacRitchie, it has a liking for high spots, commonly staying in trees. You can identify it by its long body, with dark grey fur, and three thin stripes going down its back. It also usually has a patch of black fur across its white face.
An omnivore, it eats fruits, insects, and small animals, and helps to disperse seeds of plants. It also tends to eat coffee beans, which it passes out. “Kopi Luwak”, a type of coffee, is made from these passed-out beans– however, this trade has caused certain Kopi Luwak companies to capture, exploit, and abuse civets. Project LUWAK Singapore, an animal welfare group in Singapore, has being trying to raise awareness about the exploitation and abuse of civet cats by such companies. To learn more, do head to the Project LUWAK SG Facebook page here!
MacRitchie is filled with wonderful animals that count this island home. These nocturnal animals are but a small fraction of the biodiversity that depend on MacRitchie Forest. To stop the destruction of their habitat, and to keep our Nature Reserves safe from pervasive urbanisation, sign the petition here.
Signing the petition signals to the government that you stand against the potential destruction of the biodiversity, ecosystem, and nature that Singapore has. Let’s help keep MacRitchie a space where everyone- humans, flora and fauna- can flourish, grow, and develop together.