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5 types of animals in Singapore for children to know

Animals are referred to as living beings that need water and food to survive.

There are different types of animals in Singapore, with some being seen in the wild, Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, River Wonders, Jurong Bird Park and Marine Life Park.

Difference between plants and animals?

Plants are able to make their own food. However, animals are required to hunt for other animals or eat plants to survive. Animals rely on their senses to understand their surroundings, allowing them to find food, have mates and be safe.

Two main groups of animals

Animals are categorised into two main groups by scientists. 95% of the animal species are found to be invertebrates.

● Vertebrates refer to animals that have a backbone.

● Invertebrates refer to animals that do not have a backbone.

Fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals are typically classified as vertebrates.

Fish are known as the oldest vertebrates, living in water and mostly covered by scales. Most of the fish have bony skeletons, unlike sharks and rays. The skeleton of the sharks and rays are made of cartilage, which is a strong and flexible tissue.

Amphibians refer to animals that live on land and in water. The most common amphibians are frogs and salamanders. Most of the amphibians spend their early life cycle living in the water and breathing with their gills. Lungs and legs will start forming in the later stage of the life cycle, where the amphibians will move onto the land.

Reptiles are the first vertebrates to live on the land completely. The common reptiles are lizards, snakes, and crocodiles. Reptiles have skin that is dry and scaly. Certain reptiles, such as the turtles, spend most of their time submerged in water, but breathe in air.

Birds are vertebrates that have wings and feathers. Most of the birds can fly, except some species of birds. For example, the penguin, steamer duck, Weka, ostrich, kiwi bird, kakapo, Takahe and cassowary.

Different types of animals are categorised as invertebrates, for example, sponges, jellyfish, worms, Echinoderms and Arthropods.

Certain invertebrates have bodies that are soft and unprotected, this is usually seen in animals such as sponges, jellyfish, and worms. Most of the invertebrates that have soft bodies do not have legs. Most of the invertebrates live in water, with exception to some species of worms, which live on land.

Invertebrates with a covering that protects their body are known as the Echinoderms and Molluscs.

Echinoderms typically have skins that are tough covering the stiff points, and living in the ocean. For example, starfish and sea urchins.

Molluscs refer to oysters and snails. Most of the Molluscs live in the water, with some living on the land.

Arthropods refer to invertebrates that have jointed legs. The hard covering of the Arthropods is known as the exoskeleton. Most of the Arthropods live on land and in the water. Examples of Arthropods are insects, spiders, crustaceans, and centipedes.

There are certain species of animals that can be found in Singapore. Despite being dense and populated, Singapore is home to unique and elusive animals.

The Raffles’ Banded Langur is known as Presbytis femoralis femoralis. It is a native primate that is endangered critically on a national level. The Raffles’ Banded Langur is one of the only three non-human primate found and sighted in Singapore.

The name “Raffles’ Banded Langur” is named after Sir Stamford Raffles, it is believed that he was the first person who noticed and took note of the primate as a species in 1822.

Previously, the Raffles’ Banded Langur can be seen in areas such as Tampines, Changi, Bukit Timah, Pandan and Tuas. However, the Raffles’ Banded Langur were confined in Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves by the 1980s.

In recent research, the Raffles’ Banded Langur population might be up to 60 individuals. To spot one in the wild is a rare case. There are some isolated populations of Raffles’ Banded Langur in the southern Peninsular Malaysia, but are endangered due to the loss of habitat.

The Raffles’ Banded Langur is well-known for its black coat, prominent white eye rings and white stripe down their chest, belly and inner thigh. At each side of its face has a white crescent shaped mark, in between its ear and eye.

The Raffles’ Banded Langur mainly consume leaves, fruits, and other plant parts that can be found easily on treetops.

The Malayan Colugo is solitary, nocturnal, and arboreal. It typically clings onto tree trunks or glides between leaves. The Malayan Colugo mainly consumes leaves, leaf shoots and flower buds. They can sometimes be seen carrying their young, wrapped in the membrane.

The Malayan Colugo is often seen around areas such as Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

They are well known for their grey or reddish brown upper parts, typically with black streaks that are irregular, white blotches and white eye rings. The extensive skin membrane that extends from the neck to forelimbs, along the side of the body, hind limbs and enclosed tail is the most distinctive feature of Malayan Colugo. The muzzle of the Malayan Colugo is pointed, and it has eyes that are large, and feets with huge claws.

The Common Palm Civet is known as Paradoxurus hermaphroditus, Musang Cat or Toddy Cat. It is a nocturnal mammal found in urban and forested areas. The Common Palm Civet is an omnivore, they feed on small prey and fruits.

The Common Palm Civet is a potential seed dispenser, as they defecate viable seeds that may grow within the urban and forested areas.

An interesting fact about the Common Palm Civet - it is found that secretion from anal scent glands smell like pandan. The Common Palm Civet is likely in the area if there are no pandan leaves around.

The Common Palm Civet is likely to be trapped or being roadkill as their habitats are close to the humans.

Wild Boars are Singapore native animals, they can weigh up to 100 kg and a lifespan over 20 years. Wild Boars are omnivores, they mainly consume seeds, tubers and young plants.

Females wild boars are able to reproduce once they reach 18 months of age, with 4 to 6 piglets a year. Wild Boars are found to have a lack of natural predators. Due to their quick reproduction rate, the forest regeneration and local biodiversity will be affected.

It is important not to provoke the Wild Boars, as they are able to injure and harm someone during an attack.

The Oriental Pied Hornbill is a native species in Singapore. It is known as Anthracoceros albirostris, KelingKing Biasa and 冠斑犀鸟. The Oriental Pied Hornbill can be found in wooded habitats, Pasir Ris Park, Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park, Pulau Ubin and most of the Parkland.

The Oriental Pied Hornbill looks similar to the Black Hornbill. To identify the Oriental Pied Hornbill, it must be medium sized with white belly and trailing edges to the wings. The upperpart and the wings are dark in colour, it has a pale yellow bill with black tipped casque.

Female Oriental Pied Hornbill has a smaller casque compared to the males, which has black on bill tip. Juvenile Oriental Pied Hornbill has less glossy plumage, a smaller casque and all yellow bill.

I hope the information available helps you to understand more about the common animals that are seen in Singapore. As this article may serve as an aid to help you introduce different animals for your child to learn about it.

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