Save MacRitchie Forest: 3. Mammals

on 5th June 2013

The most visible mammal in the MacRitchie forest is the Long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) (above image by YC Wee). They can be easily seen, especially in the Jelutong Tower LINK. They can be aggressive as they are used to being fed by humans. However, do not make eye contact and keep foodstuff out of view.

The largest mammal in this forest is the Lesser Mousedeer (Tragulus kanchil) (above image by Lena Chow). However, it is seldom encountered as it only emerges from hiding at dawn and dusk to look for food. The male has a pair of long canine teeth but no antlers.

Plantain squirrel (Callosciurus notatus singapurensis) is widespread in the forest as well as in urban areas (above-left image by YC Wee). They can be seen scrambling along the ground and branches looking for food. It has a prominent reddish-brown belly bounded by a black and white stripe on each side, thus its other common name of Common Red-bellied Squirrel. The Slender Squirrel (Sundasciurus tenuis) is omnivorous and can be seen here as well as in the Botanic Gardens and Bukit Barok Nature Park (above-right image by Lena Chow).

The Toddy Cat, also known as Common Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) is largely nocturnal and found among the trees (above image by Francis Yap). They have now invaded parks and gardens.

The Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica) is a nocturnal creature (above-left image by KC Tsang). It is easily recognised by the many overlapping hard brown scales covering the body and tail. It is largely terrestrial but can climb trees, always on the lookout for termites and ants nests as it feeds on the adults and their larvae of these insects. When disturbed, it rolls into a ball.

The Lesser Short-nosed Fruit Bat (Cynopterus brachyotis), the dominant fruit bat in the forest, is widely seen in urban areas as well (above-right image by YC Wee). It roosts in trees and under eaves of buildings. It is also known as the Lesser Dog-faced Fruit Bat.

These are just a sample of the many mammals living in the MacRitchie forest. Another reason why we should leave the forest alone.

Lena Chow (mousedeer, slender squirrel), Francis Yap (palm civet), KC Tsang (pangolin) & YC Wee (macaque, plantain squirrel, fruit bat)

Past series:
Part 1: Introduction LINK
Part 2: Flying Lemur LINK

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

19 Responses

  1. Forest reserve is sacred. If we can break that trust then we will break all future promises.
    Which part of the word “forest reserve” don’t they understand?

  2. Hello John, whoever you are: Nothing is sacred to those, in power, willingly desecrate the sanctity of a gazetted Nature Reserve. It is stupidity of the highest order! So sad, Goblok

  3. Once the authorities succeed in driving an MRT line through the MacRitchie forest, the way is open to future development of gazetted nature reserves in Singapore. Will this be the beginning of sourcing land for development from Nature Reserves, long regarded as land banks?

  4. Residents who live around that area- what is their opinion or allowed a say? Are they in favour or they cannot be bothered because they don’t use the surroundings much?. Are the residents of that area willing to put up with noise pollution,constant vibrations that eventually see cracks on their walls and extra energy bills to pay to air-con their living areas longer ’cause the area is going to get hotter devoid of trees that have to make way for the MRT project.

    Any petition forth coming from the residents to appeal to the Department Board concerned to shelf the idea?


    1. Generally, people are not concerned until… Anyway an NGO is planning a 24 hour performance, including chaining themselves to a tree, from 3.30pm Saturday 22nd June to 3.30pm the next day, at Singapore’s Speakers Corner in Hong Lim Park. This is to bring attention to the proposed running a train line through the protected forest.

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