Feeding and breeding frenzies

After travelling across Malaysia for three weeks, hubs and I spent our last three days in Singapore. I wasn’t particularly excited, as, having visited before, I was wondering what we would find to do, that we hadn’t already done.

It was also a little odd returning to civilization after spending so much time in natural locations, surrounded by wildlife.

The first day we relaxed and hung out around the river, mainly walking and enjoying a few beers, then on day two I decided to head off to the Marina in the hope of catching a glimpse of a sea bird or even a dolphin, as that area is a lot less populated, with little human activity.

After walking for a few hours in the rain, hubs rebelled and refused to go any further as there was little to be seen, apart from orange sea-sluggy things, clinging to rocks, so, we turned back and as we did we spotted three dark shapes emerging from the water.

Dolphins? Seals? I found myself holding my breath!

Then, the water erupted, and a seething mass of these appeared.

IMG_4722 Smooth coated otters.

I have never  seen an otter in my entire life, and here I got to watch over fourteen of them close-up!

In Singapore….of all places! Who knew? I shall always google local wildlife wherever I go in future.

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Initially they indulged in a feeding frenzy, the water was obviously teeming with huge orange fish, so many in fact, that the otters seemed to be playing with them, just like cats with mice. They hurled them into the air, caught them again, let them swim a little and then pounced…..they were clearly enjoying the game, maybe they were teaching their cubs how to hunt.

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After the feeding frenzy, the otters played, they play-fought, writhed around and around in groups and generally seemed to be high on life! To me, they appeared to be a cross between ferrets and seals! Such fascinating creatures, clearly intelligent, wily and curious, and, oh sooooo sleek and agile.

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When we returned to the hotel I looked them up. Seems these otters are rather famous.

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-36700728

They have featured on David Attenboroughs’  BBC Earth, the episode on Rivers. I watched that very episode on the plane on the way home.

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The orange fish turned out to be a very expensive ornamental koi carp, introduced into the waterways. To date the otters have munched through $80.000 worth.

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They are known as the Bishan 10, obviously there are a lot more of them now!

Smooth coated otters were thought to have disappeared in Singapore in the 70’s, their re-appearance is a result of cleaner waterways. It doesn’t take much to encourage wildlife back does it?

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How lucky I was to spot them when I did, locals prowl the waterways trying to get a glimpse of them as they’ve proved to be very elusive. You just can’t beat being in the right place at the right time!

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I opened my eyes in Singapore after that and discovered bats, monitor lizards and many species of birds and butterflies. Life exists everywhere, in jungles and cities…….a lesson well learnt!

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Over the last few days, my small pond in the back garden has been invaded by frogs. I knew there were a lot of frogs in the garden, now I suspect there may be hundreds.

The frogs were extremely skittish during the day, so I couldn’t get near them, but at night they appeared unconcerned by my presence, even with a torch.

At one point I counted 37……37 frogs in a tiny pond! There are layers and layers of frogspawn and the chorus keeps me awake at night, in a really good way mind!

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These are all common frogs, which come in all colours. Most are green/brown, but others can be orange, black and even red.That orange one really stands out.

And Finally…..

Here’s a short video that my wildlife cammie captured in Taman Negara.

Retrieving it each morning was a real treat, or…an utter disappointment.

  46 comments for “Feeding and breeding frenzies

  1. Jo
    March 14, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Goodness, those otters have got expensive tastes. I’m glad your walk in the rain was rewarded, they’re such playful creatures, fascinating to watch, aren’t they. Wow, all those frogs in your pond, you’re going to be overrun with froglets.

    • Snow Bird
      March 14, 2017 at 8:25 pm

      I was surprised at the size of those koi, poor things….they didn’t seem very adept at escaping, but I suppose most fish wouldn’t stand a chance against otters. I did enjoy watching the otters, I was astounded to come across them.
      Yes…..looks like a lot more frogs will be calling the garden home, unless a frost kills them off. Here’s hoping the weather holds. Thanks Jo.xxx

  2. March 14, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Wow! Superb post…..you must have been chuffed to see those otters….Love that little video snippet….Superb capture! Hugs!💕

    • Snow Bird
      March 14, 2017 at 8:36 pm

      Thanks Bushka, seeing those otters certainly made my day. You never know what a wildlife camera will capture, it’s always exciting opening it up each day. The civet surprised me, I’ve never seen one before, I didn’t even know they were around.xxx

  3. March 14, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Lucky you seeing so many otters. They’re wonderful animals, but sadly I’ve never seen any in the wild.
    I guess that with all those frogs you won’t have a problem with slugs. xx

    • Snow Bird
      March 14, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      I was surprised to see otters, what are the odds eh? They hung around for a few hours too so we had plenty of time to watch them. I’d never seen any in the wild either so it really was a treat!
      Oh…good point re the slugs. My hosta’s did well last year, now I know why! Thanks Flighty.xxx

  4. March 14, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    I loved hearing about your otter adventure, Dina; it’s true that an open-hearted and wide-minded awareness–and persistence–can lead to so many adventures. I love their merriment!

    I can imagine, though, how initially jarring it felt to be in as large a city as Singapore after the stillness and wildlife immersion you’d experienced for a few weeks. Yikes!

    As for frogs, they’re in such peril in our part of the world that to learn you have 37 in your pond makes me soooo happy! What grand news.

    Thanks, as always, for such lovely photos and tales to go with them.

    • Snow Bird
      March 14, 2017 at 8:49 pm

      Seeing those otters certainly made my day, it was all so unexpected, a real treat though. Yes, we certainly have to be open-minded and alert in life and always be on the alert for the unexpected! It did feels strange being back in a city, I didn’t expect too but ended up really enjoying Singapore, it was a good place to wind down in and has much more wildlife than I’d previously thought.
      Oh what a shame about your frogs…..why are they in trouble? I’d have thought they would be at home in your river, unless it’s polluted by those pipes! Sighs….Thanks Kitty. Love and hugs to you all.xxx

  5. March 14, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    The otters are amazing, I have just seen one, in Scotland! You have so many frogs, you can hardly see your pond, you will have so many tiny froglets jumping around soon!

    • Snow Bird
      March 14, 2017 at 8:52 pm

      Lucky you seeing an otter! I certainly didn’t expect to see any, certainly not in Singapore! It was a real treat watching them, they hung around for hours and we were so close to them too, not that they minded the proximity. I was rather surprised to see that many frogs in such a small pond, as Flighty says, I shouldn’t have much trouble with the slugs! Thanks Pauline.xxx

  6. March 14, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Is this another example of your seventh sense, Dina, where animals are concerned … sometimes you just seem to ‘know’ where they are! So pleased you saw those amazing otters and yes, the ponds and rivers seem to be absolutely teeming with frog spawn at present. We saw loads up on Dartmoor the other day.

    • Snow Bird
      March 14, 2017 at 8:58 pm

      Hahaha…if only I had a seventh sense! I think the gods decided to smile on me that day, instead of a sea bird they provided otters. Funnily enough though, I had a feeling I’d see something! Seeing those otters was amazing, they were really close and hung around for hours….what joy eh? Everyone is seeing lots of frogspawn this year, looks like it’s going to be a good year for the frogs, if it doesn’t freeze that is. Thanks Gill.xxx

  7. March 14, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    I would love to have frogs in my garden! Those otters are so cool! It’s kind of funny that they are dining on fancy koi, though not so funny for the koi, I guess.

    • Snow Bird
      March 14, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      You’ll have to go and collect some frogspawn and build a tiny pond Jason. Frogs always seem to return to the pond they were born in to mate.
      Oh those poor koi, the otters certainly took no prisoners! The koi must be doing well though as the Marina seemed full of them. xxx

  8. March 14, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Great detail- the otters’ antics do seem evocative of that of seals. I saw an otter or two at the baptismal site on the River Jordan. Just about got a pic of one. Again, clean water, it is hoovered clean by catfish.

    The frog is the star of the pond life.

    Super post!

    xxxxx

    • Snow Bird
      March 14, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      Oh…there you go…I live and learn, there are otters in the River Jordan, I wouldn’t have dreamt that! Glad you got to see them, fascinating creatures, yes, very like seals, crossed with ferrets.
      Thanks Menhir.xxx

  9. March 14, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    Lucky you – very much a case of the right place at the right time – unless of course you are a fish.

    • Snow Bird
      March 14, 2017 at 9:08 pm

      I was certainly in the right place at the right time….how fortunate eh? Oh…those poor fish, it was hard to watch at times! Thanks Sue.xxx

  10. val brumby
    March 14, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Such a wonderful and hope-filled post, when so much regarding wildlife and the environment is so very dark these days. Your post clearly illustrates the resilience of nature and ability to thrive , if man allows it to simply” be “and not interfere / exploit animals or destroy habitat ~ love that you have so many frogs , a very good sign that your garden is healthy and providing them with all the things they need to thrive. Lovely post. I really need things like this now to remind me that not all the planet is being destroyed by human agendas and our species . Lovely post.

    • Snow Bird
      March 14, 2017 at 9:21 pm

      Thanks Val, good to hear from you. I’m always amazed how quickly wildlife settles in if habitats are left alone. As you say, we have to leave well alone!!! It was heartwarming seeing how well those otters are doing, after seeing them I opened my eyes and was surprised to see bats and lots of other wildlife in Singapore. Most unexpected.
      I must say, the sheer numbers of frogs in my garden surprised me, we have lots of toads too. Maybe they are attracted by all the slugs I don’t have the heart to kill!!! So glad you enjoyed the post.xxx

      • val brumby
        March 14, 2017 at 9:57 pm

        I know I have missed a lot of your posts due to having fractured my back last year some personal family problems and then the horrific political situation here just devastated me ~ I am just now trying to get back to reading blogs again and yours has always been a favorite . Lovely to reconnect with you and see all that you have been doing. I have a lot to catch up with! Yes, re: the froggies and toads no doubt they will also be a beneficial and welcome addition to your garden ~ they can certainly eat a lot of insects ~and they are such joyful little creatures anyway ,so you have a lovely mini ecosystem that is thriving in your own back garden. XXXx

        • Snow Bird
          March 14, 2017 at 10:06 pm

          Goodness me! It sounds like you’ve had a rough time of it. A fractured back sounds unpleasant, putting it mildly! I really hope you are on the mend and that all issues are resolving themselves for the better!!! As for the political situation, I think the whole world is reeling!
          You take good care of you. xxx

  11. March 14, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    The last thing I expected to read about in a post on Singapore was otters! How delightfully unexpected. I have never been to Singapore, but think of it as strictly conformist and bound by rules. So, what could be better than having a bunch of playful, rogue otters disrupting all that order and eating expensive koi? Creatures after my own heart. Let’s hope they continue to thrive.
    I wonder why you have such a population explosion of frogs. You must have a lovely evening singsong.
    And thanks for sharing the wildlife camera video–amazing what goes on out there at night. I never would have thought to bring a wildlife camera on vacation, but now I’ll be packing it.

  12. Snow Bird
    March 14, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    You and me both re otters in Singapore! It was marvelous seeing them and utterly unexpected too. Lol…yes, otters doing their thing there is amusing! Oh yes, here’s to them thriving, I think they’ll continue to do well as they have so much local support which is great.
    For some reason, I seem to have more and more frogs each year, I may have to build more ponds!
    Please do take a wildlife camera away with you, it’s astonishing what you capture, often creatures that you didn’t expect to be there. That civet slept on our veranda, I didn’t know they where even in the vicinity! It’s such a treat opening it up each day too, the highs and lows….quite addictive it is! Thanks Brenda.xxx

  13. March 14, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    Wonderful. I did feel for the poor fish though! The only time I’ve seen otters was in a wildlife park, to see them in the wild is awesome.
    I was pondering a stopover in Singapore if I’m lucky enough to go back to Oz. Worth it do you think?

    • Snow Bird
      March 14, 2017 at 11:26 pm

      You and me both re the fish! I often looked away and screamed, “Get on with it” in my head! They were big fish too! Massacre came to mind…..Nature can be cruel!
      I would definitely stay in Singapore, it’s a really relaxing, laid-back, safe place. The laws haven’t affected us at all, it’s a great city, particularly around the older area, the river, and everything, of course is immaculate, but hey….who needs litter? I’d go for it! Let me know if you go, I’ll tell you where to find the wildlife.xxx

  14. March 15, 2017 at 1:40 am

    There have been reported sightings of river otters in one of the marinas where I work. As in Singapore, it’s the return of clean water that makes it possible, although everyone’s a little puzzled by their presence so near the coast and salt water. It may be that we’re had so much rain and flooding that the salinity has been reduced, and they’re just visiting from streams and such farther inland.

    It tickles me that you were able to see such wonderful creatures in the middle of Singapore. It is true, as an urban biologist told us at a meeting last night, that “if you build it, they will come.” There’s more and more interest here in creating habitats for wildlife, even in the smallest suburban yard. With food, shelter, and water, there’s no telling what will move in and set up housekeeping!

    • Snow Bird
      March 15, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      It’s good to hear that otters are returning to your marinas, maybe it’s the flooding, that certainly makes sense. I hope you get a glimpse of them, they are hugely entertaining. I’m pleased to hear there is a lot of interest in creating wildlife habitats too, I think we’ll all have to do our bit worldwide.
      I did enjoy the show the otters put on, seeing so many for so long was a real treat. Thanks Linda.xxx

  15. veggiemummy
    March 15, 2017 at 6:31 am

    What a wonderful reward for you and hubs. I’ve never seen an otter in the wild but E and I were mesmerised by them at an aquarium last year; they are such playful creatures. I didn’t realise that they had such expensive tastes either! I love your frogs and your holiday video too. xx

    • Snow Bird
      March 15, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      I didn’t realize how playful otters are, I could have watched them all day, a treat for sure. My pond is full to overflowing with frog spawn now….where on earth are all those frogs coming from? Thanks Veggiemummy.xxx

  16. March 15, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Lovely to see that there are Otters in Singapore, so great to have some wildlife in the city, and thriving. I have only seen Otters once in a wildlife park in Africa, and they seemed unbelievably smart and very cute, a bit like a Cockatoo……really to put on a show for the audience!
    Also love to hear about an abundance of frogs, we don’t seem to get them anymore, and I’m over ponds in the winter, so hope everyone else has some!

    • Snow Bird
      March 15, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      Those otters certainly seemed to be intelligent, they do live their lives at ninety miles an hour!
      How I wish we had cockatoos here….you do have some fascinating birds! I think I have enough frogs for both of us! They are everywhere, one pops up every time I get the brush out, keeping them out of Buddy’s jaws is becoming something of a challenge. Thanks Gerrie.xxx

  17. March 15, 2017 at 8:09 am

    How wonderful to have these lovely otters giving you your own private performance. I saw otters in Ireland a couple of years ago and was as excited as you. But these only appeared for a minute and they didn’ t have nice fat Koi carp to eat.
    Did you go to the wonderful Botanical Garden in Singapore?
    All those frogs, lucky you. Frogs seem to be going the same way as hedgehogs here.

    • Snow Bird
      March 15, 2017 at 9:33 pm

      They sure did put on a great show. Oh…otters in Ireland eh? I must check that out! Yes, a shoal of koi would keep them in situ for a few hours….those poor fish, it was difficult to watch at times. I did spend a day at the botanical gardens, I visited last time too, oh my, what a paradise. It was so hot walking around though. Dripping I was, dripping! Oh dear, maybe you need to collect some frogspawn along with hogs next time your up here.xxx

  18. March 15, 2017 at 9:06 am

    Wow. it just goes to show that when you are patient and persevere all manner of wonderful things can happy. What a treat to see these beautiful creatures at play and hunting…well done you. In the video I could see something with a long tail disappear up the steps, but wasn’t sure what it was…..what a great idea to do that.
    As for frogs…I quite like their chorus….a sign of Mother Nature at work.
    Wishing you a glorious spring day….mild temps this week which is good. Janet. 🙂 xxx

    • Snow Bird
      March 15, 2017 at 9:41 pm

      Sometimes I think I conjure wildlife up, maybe being an eternal optimist helps! Seeing those otters was an unexpected treat.
      The video was of a civet, I didn’t even know they were around. It’s always exciting when opening up the wildlife cammie, you never know what you’ve caught.
      We had sunshine today, what a difference it makes. All the best Janet.xxx

  19. March 15, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Looks like the otters have been waiting for you…
    I guess Singapore and Malaysia are changed in the last 20 years. I use to go to Singapore at least one every two months when flying for Swissair 🙂
    I didn’t visit much of Malaysia, unfortunately. Maybe because it’s a Muslim country and I never was fond of it… Indonesia was more than enough, but this is a long story.
    Did you visit the Cameron Highlands? I heard so much about it… as well about Terengganu and the turtles…
    Thank you so much for sharing 🙂 hugs and kisses :-)c

    • Snow Bird
      March 17, 2017 at 9:54 pm

      It felt like those otters were just waiting for us to walk by!
      Yes, I remember you saying you often visited Singapore, I wonder how much it has changed, lots of new building were flying up while we were there. I didn’t see the Cameron Islands, we took a train from KL to Penang, I didn’t see those turtles either….sighs…thanks Claudine. Hugs and kisses right back.xxx

  20. March 16, 2017 at 12:34 am

    Wow! You certainly was in the right place at the right time to see those smooth coated otters, simply wonderful. I enjoyed your photographs.

    … and what a lot of frogs in your pond, they can be noisy can’t they!

    Enjoy the rest of your week

    Al the best Jan

  21. Snow Bird
    March 17, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Thank Jan, I was thrilled seeing those otters, I’ll probably never see another one, so I made the most of those.
    Gosh yes, frogs can be noisy, especially that many!!!xxx

  22. March 18, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Such a beautiful experience. I have never seen an otter in the wild. My pond in the garden seems unattractive to frogs and unfortunately has sprung a leak. I shall be making a big garden this spring in its place.

  23. Snow Bird
    March 22, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    Frogs seem to be picky creatures, some have hundreds, others have none! Seeing otters certainly is special, who knew though? Thanks Brigid.xxx

  24. March 24, 2017 at 12:53 am

    A great post and images. You have certainly had a great asian holiday.

    • Snow Bird
      March 27, 2017 at 12:16 am

      Thanks Peter, it was the best holiday we’ve had. Full of surprises!xxx

  25. March 26, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    I love otters so how exciting for you!! I wonder why there aren’t any native fish for them to enjoy. But those carp are keeping them sleek and healthy!

    • Snow Bird
      March 27, 2017 at 12:19 am

      You and me both re the otters, my first experience of them in the wild, they seem much bigger than our native otters, not that I’ve ever seen them in the wild….they were eating other fish too….they seemed plentiful!xxx

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