You may have seen documentaries on television showing the crocodile hunter, the late Steve Irwin, wrestling with crocodiles in Australia, or scenes of crocodiles killing herds of wildebeests in the Nile River in Africa, and you may think how you wish you can see a wild crocodile with your own eyes. Well you do not need to look far to see one. Believe it or not, there are wild crocodiles in Singapore. Yes in the heavily built up city like Singapore, crocodiles are still around, if you know where to look for it. Crocodiles in Singapore belong to the Saltwater species (Crocodylus porosus). They are mostly sighted at the northern coast of Singapore, such as Kranji, Sungei Buloh, Pasir Ris,and islands like Pulau Tekong and Ubin. They have also been sighted at places such as Kallang River and Singapore River. The Saltwater Crocodile is listed as a critically endangered animal in Singapore.
Saltwater Crocodiles are the largest living reptiles in the world, growing up to 8m in length. In Singapore, the crocodiles do not grow to such large sizes, due to the small sizes of its prey species. The largest crocodile in Singapore probably measures about 3m in length. Contrary to the aggressive nature we saw on documentaries where they charge at people when humans get too close, or feed on large prey like zebras and wildebeest, the crocodiles in Singapore are pretty docile and shy, prefering to avoid human confrontation. They feed mainly on fish here, due to the lack of mammals in Singapore.
The best chance of seeing a wild crocodile in Singapore is at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. The best time to see one is during a low tide period, where water levels are low. Look from the bridge near the main entrance using a binoculars and scan the waters, and look for a bump that looks like a rock, as crocodiles usually submerged themselves in the water with only its eyes and nose visible. If you are lucky, you may see the full body of the crocodile basking on the mudflats.
In case where you encounter a crocodile on the walking trail, please do not panic. Slowly back away until you are at a safe distance from it. Do not approach or provoked it. For the benefit of trust between man and crocs, lets us all be responsible nature visitors and not disturb the wildlife in their home, and we can all enjoy wonderful nature experiences such as seeing a wild crocodile in Singapore.
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