Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sungei Buloh training with RMBR guides

The Malayan Monitor Lizard is the biggest lizard you can find in Singapore. It is mostly a scavenger, though it eats live fishes as well. It do climb trees to feed on nestlings and small birds. Not only that, the monitor lizard can swim as well. Hence it can be considered a top predator since it basically eats anything that can fit into its mouth!

The roots and juice of the young leaves of Bandicoot Berry (leea indica) can be used as a digestive in Goa. The roasted leaves are applied to the head to treat dizziness and giddiness. For motr information, you can refer to http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Bandicoot%20Berry.html

This Fish Tail Palm (Caryota mitis) is poisonous! It may cause itchiness as it contain needle-like crystals that may be embedded onto your skin. However it has many uses. Its sap can be made into palm sugar. Its leaves are woven into household items; fibres into ropes and seeds made into beads.

The Sea Almond Tree (Terminalia catappa) is a common tree at our streets to provide colour and shade. Its nuts are edible, taste like almond, thus its name. Its leaves release organic acids when put in water. This lowers the pH creating a safe and soothing environment for the fishes in the aquarium. Hence some people even sell sea almond leaves at eBay! Its leaves also secrete sugary substances at its slits to attract ants hence protecting the plant.

The bark of the Wild Cinamon (Canella Winterana) can be made into fish poison. Its leaves and stem is toxic to poultry. One beneficial use is that its finely chipped wood may be smoked alone or with other plant materials to relieve headache and hangover.

This female Jungle Fowl like their cousins - domesticated chickens - forage the ground for seeds, fruits and insects. It uses its feet to scratch away leaf litter and peck at whats hidden underneath. The female usually dig a hole under the thick vegetation and incubates the eggs alone which hatch in about 3 weeks. The mother then keeps her chicks under her cover till they are fully grown for a period of about 12 days.

Cotton Stainer Bugs!!

They are often found in huge numbers to help them find their mates and protect against predators. This happens in most animals and this is 'safety in numbers'. These bugs feed on the seeds of Sea Hibiscus. So if you come across Sea Hibiscus, do look under the leaf and you may spot them! They are called 'cotton stainer bugs' because they stain the cotton bolls causing fungus growth. Their feeding habits also affect the growth of the cotton bolls since it cuts and damages its fibres.

The Barringtonia Racemosa (also called the Powerpuff Tree) has very very beautiful flowers!! It is said to be a rare plant. It grows very well under dry conditions. The pungent yet faintly sweet scent produced by the flowers attract moths and nectar-feeding bats at night. When the flowers shed, the ants are attracted to the dead flowers for its sweet nectar. In Bengal, its seeds are used to poison people and coconut is said to be its antidote! o.o

The fruit of the Nipah Palm is edible. It is grown and tapped for its sweet sap to make palm sugar. It is estimated that one hectare of nipah palm can produce 2000kg of palm sugar!

The Shield Bugs (Calliphara Nobilis) tend to congregate in large numbers.

Thanks LK and Ron for organising this informative and interesting trip!


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