I recently came across a colony? of lesser dog-faced bats, a.k.a. lesser short-nosed fruit bat roosting in ceiling of a 5-storey stairwell in MCKL. The area is heavily trafficked in the day time and the bats seem to be comfortable with human presence underneath their roosting place. Their roost is a malfunctioned ceiling light with grating which allowed them serendipitously to grasp on to.
Figs 4-6 shows what appear to be one ear and the lateral head view of the juvenile?
It is interesting to note the big eyes and overall resemblance to puppies!
Interesting snippets: The life-span of this bat is 20-30 years. They are frugivorous and like mangosteens. They suck out the juices and soft pulp of small fruits like chikus (Manilkara zapota), guavas (Psidium guajava), bananas (Musa spp), but swallow small fruits like figs, feed on nectar and pollen too. Medway notes that breeding is not seasonal in Peninsula Malaysia and the young are nursed with mother’s milk for about six to eight weeks. The mother bat carries the pup with her continuously during the nursing period. These bats pollinate flowers and carry out dispersal of seeds.
This bat (Megachiroptera bats) uses its large eyes to navigate at night, instead of echolocation (Microchiroptera bats). Sight and sound are used together to navigate.
Ng Di Lin
Lecturer, American Degree Transfer Program
Methodist College Kuala Lumpur
Off Jalan Tun Sambanthan 4, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur.
For sometime, my helpers Estela and Generose had been encountering a rubber band at various locations in the house when they were mopping the floor. They suspected that a resident house gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) must had removed the rubber bands from an open pile or those hung on the wall of the kitchen. Probably finding them inedible, they were then abandoned on the floor.
Rubber bands on the kitchen counter lying on a thin layer of flour (red arrow). Note a rubber band hanging above (black arrow).
These geckos are nocturnal creatures and unless we keep awake at night we would not be able to catch them red handed taking the rubber bands. First, we placed a few rubber bands on the kitchen counter and lightly scattered flour over them, hoping to see the gecko’s “footprints” should any try to retrieve a rubber band. For a few days nothing happened. We then realised that the flour must have kept the geckos away. We then thought, why not scatter a thin layer of flour “inside” the rubber bands. Should a gecko retrieve a rubber band, the flour would be disturbed and we would have the evidence.
Right: rubber band with flour “inside” and Left: rubber band had been removed by a gecko.
After a few nights without any results, one morning we found the flour showing signs of disturbance (above). The rubber band was found on the floor. We also found rubber bands hanging on the kitchen wall lying on the floor.
Displaced rubber band on the floor.
Problem solved! Now we needed an Image of a gecko in the process of pinching a rubber band. This was the hard part of the study, that is, until I googled the net. Lo and behold, I found an article with a fascinating image of a gecko with a rubber band between its jaws photographed by Ong Ah Huat, who believes that geckos only take red rubber bands. I further learnt that geckos are attracted to rubber bands in many houses all over Singapore.
House gecko caught in the act stealing a rubber band (Image courtesy of Ong Ah Huat).
YC Wee, Estela V Acierto & Generose V Acierto
2nd September 2022
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BESGroup congratulates Shahrul on being awarded the Certificate of Excellence by World Birds Photography.
Shahrul has been a regular contributor to BESGroup and his photographs often bring out feather colours and other identification details to readers. His photographs captivate readers as the birds are captured engaging in survival activities. Lay people seldom see details of these bird activities as the birds are secretive and flit pass many of us. Shahrul’s camera work captures the ambience and mood of the situations: the maternal/paternal instincts of the birds like protective and defensive stances, stressed parents looking for food to feed the hungry broods, the urgency of nest-building, cute chicks (feathered types) and fledglings going through their paces. His love for bird documentation takes him to all parts of Singapore and her neighbours.
May Shahrul stay strong, healthy, determined and share more wonderful photographs which have yet to be taken.
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The King Cobra belongs to the genus Ophiophagus while the true cobras belong to the Naga genus. There are several other snakes with the common names of cobra that do not belong to the Naga genus, such as Tree cobras (Pseudohaje), Ring neck spitting cobras (Hemachatus), Shield nose cobras (Aspidelaps), Black desert cobras (Walterinnesia) and False water cobra (Hydrodynastes).
King Cobra, Ophiophagus hannah, has long been considered monotypic. However, recent studies have shown that King Cobras may actually be four distinct species. Mitochondrial, nuclear gene and morphology studies show four independently evolving and geographically separated lineages: (1) Western Ghats lineage; (2) Indo-Chinese lineage (3) Indo-Malayan lineage; (4) Luzon Island lineage (the Philippine Archipelago).
King cobras usually range from 10 to 13 feet but can reach 19 feet in length, making them the longest of all venomous snakes.
These snakes are found from north-east India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, southern China, Liao, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Philippines. They are found in forest areas, grasslands and mangrove forests. The skin color varies across the habitats, from black with white stripes to unbroken brownish grey. The muzzle is rounded, and the tongue black. It has two short, fixed fangs in the front of the mouth, which channel venom into the prey. The large eyes have golden irises and round pupils.
When confronted, the snake lifts up to a third of its body (front part) off the ground and then move forward to attack in this stance. This is then followed by the flare of its iconic hood and emitting a hiss that sounds almost like a growling dog.
Ophiophagus means snake eater. The King Cobras’ diet consists almost exclusively of snakes, Asian rat snakes, pythons, venomous Indian cobras, kraits and even small king cobras. When there is scarcity of food, they will also eat lizards, eggs, and small mammals.
A King Cobra hunts by detecting the prey’s chemical sense particles in the air with the stereo-capable forked tongue. These sense particles are transferred to a sensory receptor (Jacobson’s organ) located in the roof of its mouth. After analysis, the cobra can gauge the location of its prey. In addition, the cobra is also capable of receiving stereo earth-borne vibration signals, via the two halves of its unconnected lower jaws.
The king cobra venom is mainly neurotoxic. It is not the most toxic of snake venom but it is very deadly because of the large amount that can be injected. The amount is enough to kill 20 men or a large elephant. . King cobra venom affects the respiratory centers in the brain, causing respiratory arrest and cardiac failure.
After the prey is paralysed, it is swallowed whole, even if it is larger than the cobra’s head. This is because the jaw bones are loosely connected. This ability is known as cranial kinesis.
It hunts mainly in the day, occasionally at night.
They are the only snakes in the world that build nests for their eggs. The female scrapes up leaves and other debris to form a mound where she lays her eggs. She guards her eggs ferociously until just before the hatchlings emerge. The male is usually nearby. They are known to pair for life.
One of the natural enemies of the King Cobra is the mongoose.
Shahrul Kamal was tipped off by another photographer that a pair of Black-naped orioles (Oriolus chinensis) were nesting successfully at Bishan Street 22. He was amply rewarded with the beautiful images below. As the nest was quite high up, Shahrul used his ingenuity to take the footages from a small window on level 6, next to the lift lobby. A 900 mm camera lens was used.
9 March 2022, ~ 1pm
Orioles form permanent bond-pairs and mate for life. The open cup-shaped nest is assembled by the female bird with occasional help from the male which collects nest-building materials like leaves, grass and bark. 2-4 eggs are laid and usually 2 chicks survive to fledgling stage. Both parents are actively involved in raising the chicks. Food like caterpillars and insects are fed to young chicks, fruits, seeds, and young of other birds/vertebrates are added to the diet as the chicks grow. Orioles usually forage on tree canopies in the vicinity of the nest and seldom descend to the ground to forage.
Black-naped oriole, Oriolus chinensis , is a frequent visitor (or permanent inhabitant) of the raintrees in the Methodist College Kuala Lumpur compound. The raintrees also host many oriental magpie robins and the occasional elusive kingfisher (yet unidentified), and also a spot for Asian koels to converge occasionally. The pictures below were taken by phone cameras.
Watch this video shorts to hear the sounds that this particular oriole was listening to.
A female Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis) spotted at Pasir Ris Park on 9 July 2022. Soh Kam Yung saw it stealing nectar (primary nectar robbing) from Hibiscus flowers by piercing the flower base. Nectar robbing does not aid in flower pollination. Secondary nectar robbing occurs when nectar is stolen from the base of flower that had been pierced by another nectar seeker earlier.
Crane Flies and mosquitoes belong to the Order Diptera and are easily mistaken for each other.
Crane flies Mosquitoes
Larger in size ( ~ 9 – 60 mm) Smaller in Size ( ~ 6.25 mm)
Body is longer and thinner Body is shorter and thicker
Wings jut out from side of body Wings rest above abdomen
Pointed abdomen that looks like a sting ( is not) Absence of sting-like structure at end of abdomen
No feeding mouth parts (adults do not eat) Piercing and sucking mouthpart called proboscis
Crane fly larvae, known as leatherjackets, feed on living and decomposing plant matter. The larvae therefore play an important role in soil ecosystems. The adults and larvae are fed on by other animals in the ecosystems they are found in. However, the larvae can be destructive agricultural pests when present in abundance. The adults exist for a few days only and do not feed. Thus, despite their predatory appearance they do not carry out this function of predating on mosquitoes or other insects smaller than them.