About a week after my first encounter with the smooth-coated otters, I was eager to go see them again. It was a weekend and I headed to Sungei Buloh with anticipation.
Walk and walk I did, but the otters were nowhere in sight. For an hour and a half, I was looking at every nook and cranny. After completing the whole route, I decided to give it one last chance and went to the spot where I last caught sight of the otters. No luck, but I heard yelping on the other side of the mangrove bank at a short distance away. Could it be them?
I did not have a clear view, as the mangrove plants were really getting in the way, but through the leaves, I could see grey figures moving and yelping away incessantly. Quickly finding an opening, I found them. Again!
Crouching at an awkward angle, I did all I could to get some decent shots. It didn’t help that I was using a new lens that did not have image-stabilization. Luckily for me, there were some usable shots.
Smooth-coated otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) are medium sized otters that inhabit coastal areas such as estuaries and mangroves. Their range extends from South East Asia to India.
Although now listed as a vulnerable species, here in Singapore, there have been records of sightings of these otters in a few areas, namely in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Sungei Tampines and Pulau Ubin.
My first sighting of these creatures was at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on 5 September 2010. It was a pair of feeding otters. The whole thing was rather unexpected as I was not specifically looking out for them. Here are the pictures (see my Flickr account for larger sizes).
It was a public holiday yesterday and the rest of the family was holidaying somewhere else. I had a whole day for myself and I intended it to be a photography day.
However, it was coming towards the end of the day, and it turned out that it was not a very fruitful birding day despite my best attempts. I was headed towards the Lower Peirce Reservoir Park carpark when I decided to make a last minute detour to the garden just above the carpark. Maybe my luck may change and in birding, one can only be an optimist.
Strolling along, examining closely every tree for sign of birds, I suddenly saw a figure and it was staring at me…
Whoa, a wild boar in the garden!
I quickly backed out to keep a safer distance as I know how dangerous they can be. Imagine, a full view of a boar in an unexpected setting. Peering into my viewfinder again…
There’s more than one! A family with adult and piglets! I braced myself. Nothing more dangerous than a sow protecting its family. I quickly figured that the position I was standing at was favourable enough. I was far enough and I can safely dash downhill and my camera was handheld, not on a tripod. So instead of running off immediately, I stayed and continued scanning the area.
More pigs to the right!
In fact there are 11 pigs in the above picture! A quick count without the camera confirms the number. All just above the carpark, and everyone else there was oblivious to them. Amazing!
Moments later, a mad dash! I was startled initially, but they weren’t charging towards me, thankfully. More clickity-clicks then.. Apparently they were headed back to the forest clearing to my left. My presence was not welcomed by them.
This mother piggy is bringing the children home.
The next 3. Hoppity-hop.
The final 2. Observing me intently before leaving towards the dark forested area.
Wait it minute here, you may say. Whatabout your title? It says 12 Piggies. Kinda feel cheated of one little piggy!
OK, I understand. Well, this morning I was at Chek Jawa in Pulau Ubin…
And on my way out, I met this little piggy!
A closer look and a final picture.
Just for your info, the Eurasian Wild Pig (Sus scrofa) is the largest native terrrestrial mammal in Singapore. And it was only quite recently that it has made a reappearance in the main island. There are not many photos of them as they prefer to stay in the forested area and the wise photographer backs out instead of staying around and risk a mauling. Do have a further read here: