Plants and Animals
Plants and Animals
Photo:Jeffchat1 in the public domain
Singapore used to be completely covered with tropical rainforest and was very swampy. Little is left of that now. Today, the rainforest is only found in a reserve like Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. In total, Singapore still has approximately 300 ha of rainforest. The rest of the forests, about 1800 ha, have been planted. The tropical rainforest consists mainly of tropical hardwood trees such as seraya and merantis that can grow up to 40 meters high. Many other plants (epiphytes) grow on these trees, such as the stag horn fern. Singapore has approximately 500 ha of mangrove forests, especially in the north.
Photo:lamg Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no changes made
Various types of grasses, cyper grass and creepers grow along the coast in the sandy areas. Inland, coconut palms, casuarina's, pandanus, pong pong and the yellow-flowered hibiscus grow. About 200 plants grow in urban areas, of which only about 20% are indigenous. The vegetation in parks, gardens and along the road is usually not indigenous. For example, the frangipani comes from Mexico, the caesalpinia from the West Indies and the lantana and bougainvillea from South America. Along the roads we also find angsana and jambulaut. In Singapore we also find many aquatic plants such as waterweed and bladderwort. Singapore's national flower is the Vanda 'Miss Joaquim'.
Photo:John Mason Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) no changes made
Most of the animals now found in Singapore are in fact “obliged” to live in the forests that remain. Vertebrates that live high in the trees include the flying lemur, two squirrels, the long-tailed macaque, and the flying lizard. Shrews, rats, snakes and three species of frogs live on the ground and among the bushes. Singapore has several bat species such as the small long-tongued bat, the cave bat, the small-headed bamboo bat and the naked bat. The little mouse deer and the scaly anteater are rarely seen. The national animals of Singapore are the lion (Singa Pura = city of the lion) and the Malay tiger.
Photo:Malcolm Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made
Singapore has about 335 species of birds, 215 of which are native; the rest are hibernators. Of the 215 native species, 100 are fairly common and 52 are threatened with extinction. In 1995 9 more species of birds were spotted that had never been seen before.
The most common hibernators are the golden Pacific plover and the purple starling. The most common native birds are the Javan myna and the common tern. Occasionally the endangered Chinese egret and the pied hornbill can be seen. The national bird of Singapore is the Crimson sunbird.
Photo:Yathin S K Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made
Life in the streams, ponds and water reservoirs is dominated by tadpoles, prawns, water bugs and damselflies. Mussels, barnacles, snails, crabs and lobsters live in the mangrove swamps and other brackish water. A little further out to sea we find a very colorful underwater world with sea urchins, coral, anemones, clown fish, occasionally poisonous scorpion fish and stonefish. 150 species of coral are found on the reefs off the coast of Singapore.
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Beliën, H. / Maleisië : Singapore
Hellander, P. / Singapore
Oon, H. / Singapore
Ministry of Information and the Arts
Wee, J. / Singapore
Chelsea House Publishers
CIA - World Factbook
BBC - Country Profiles
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