Instead of the usual bright and sunny morning, the skies were gloomy as I approached the Kranji area. I was a little disappointed thinking that I won't get to see much since bird activities tend to be reduced when theres lesser sunshine. Worst of all, I was afraid that it will rain! Thankfully the weather held up and this wonderful nature reserve never fails to surprise me.
Happy that the tide was very low when I reached the reserve as this means that there is a chance to see the Esturine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). "Really got crocodile meh? Will it appear?" I overheard the skeptical conversation of group of visitors. "Yah, there is. I'm sure it is around here (erh) somewhere. I've seen it before' the kaypo me interrupted them, with a smile of course. Indeed, (many) minutes later, Crocodile 2 (I think) appeared!
It harboured around the usual area near the main bridge and was submerged most of the time, except for its eyes.
Then, it swam into to a small pool of water by the river bank. This is the third time I've seen it there. At this spot, the crocodile is very well camouflaged like a log and difficult to spot unless with a pair of keen eyes, perhaps the reason for its stopover.
I was hoping really hard for it to move ashore but instead, the crocodile decided to swim away fairly swiftly a while later. It does so by tucking its feet to its sides while swimming which allows it to swim faster as water resistance is decreased.
It headed towards the opposite bank and soon, I lost sight of it after it dipped below the surface. For ten minutes, it didnt resurface, and I presumed that it had swam away.
I decided to try my luck at birding at platform 2 and met a huge Malayan Water Monitor (Veranus salvator) along the trail, enjoying a bask.
As I walked on, a family of 4 walked past me, heading towards the monitor liazard. Few seconds later, I heard a commotion. I turned and was shocked that the grandfather was standing just next to the monitor lizard, which flinged its tail at the grandfather's leg in defence. Perhaps a reflexed reaction, the grandfather, to my horror, raised his feet to kick the lizard! (although I cant tell whether he touched the lizard from where I was standing).
I quickly ran over to check if he was hurt and attempted to explain why they shouldnt do so, but was ignored, and even shot a dirty look. ARGH!! Really, this reptile may look menacing, but they are shy of human beings. They typically flee instead of fight when approached. It was just basking in the sun, so we really should be leaving them alone.
I hang around platform 2 for some time (still feeling sore about the monitor lizard episode), and made my way back to the main bridge. I was mad happy to see the crocodile on the opposite bank. Finally, a full view of it on land!
It slowly opened its mouth, probably to regulate its temperature/ cool off, due to a lack of sweat glands.
Side view of the crocodile with its mouth opened.
The dentist says....'ah'...
For some reasons, the crocodile made a noise that sounded like a cough/ hiss and snapped its jaws closed. I found clips of crocodile calls by Dr. Adam Britton on the internet and what I heard sounds like a threat call (listen to the first & second clip - although recorded from a different species), not sure though.
I didnt realised how big this crocodile is as it is often submerged in water. From snout to tail, it is approximately 3m in length. With plenty of food such as fishes in the reserve, I won't be surprised if it grows larger (and hopefully by then, this top predator won't be removed and the ecosystem upsetted).
This pack of dogs was pacing up and down the coast from one end to the other. As they walked nearer to where the freshwater pond was, one of them suddenly picked up pace and barked. Soon, a loud squeal was heard. The stray dog was chasing a smooth otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) !!
Thankfully the otter ran into the water in time, and the dog gave up its chase. *Phew*. Clearly, the water is the otter's safer haven given its strength in swimming.