Naked Hermit Crab – Pasir Ris Mangrove Walk

Over the last weekend, we went to the Pasir Ris Mangroves with the volunteer nature guides from the Naked Hermit Crabs.  The natural wildlife group was formed by like-minded individuals who have come together to host free guided nature walks along our shares and they hope to bring more awareness to the loss of natural habitat in Singapore.

Why Naked Hermit Crabs?

Hermit crabs are commonly seen on sea shores and mangrove swamps.  They are typically all over the shore at low tide.  The name of the group reminds us of the fragile shelled animal having only it’s shelter (shell) for protection, and the worse can only happen if it loses it.  Like hermit crabs without shells, our shores will be fragile too if there are no nature lovers to protect them.

nhc3

Our Discovery Walk

The Pasir Ris Mangroves is a discovery trail at the side of Pasir Ris Park that is suitable for small kids and families.  It is also suitable for parents with a stroller in tow as the boardwalk / footpath is smooth and well-constructed.  The boardwalk is also very well maintained with no broken pieces spotted.  The trail starts from the car park to Mangrove Jetty at Sungei Tampines.

Date of Walk: 1st Feb 2015
Meeting Time: 430 pm
Duration: roughly 1.5 to 2 hours 
Meeting point:  (Nearest toilets at carpark entrance)

*Note that date/time/duration is not fixed for every walk.  It depends on turn-up rate and response from participants.

Parking : Pasir Ris Park, Car Park C (access from Pasir Ris Green)

20150201_164841_resize_20150202_171209_0

MRT : From Pasir Ris MRT/Bus Interchange, it is a short 10-min walk following the foot path (red in picture below) leading to the said meeting point.

Map

Don’t be cheated by this map. The boardwalk path inside the mangroves is not so straight.

We started with registration.  Look out for Naked Hermit Crab volunteer with the signage.

20150201_165500_resize_20150202_171206_0

We got a quick briefing before we set off.  Our group leader is a fine teenager by the name of Sankar.  Nice to see a teenager contributing efforts to society and nature rather than staying on the streets.  So parents, a hint here : get your kids to love nature and make sure the love grows on them!

Sankar is the leader in our group.  He's knowledgeable and his favorite animal is the SNAKE  *ewww*

Sankar is knowledgeable and his favorite animal is the SNAKE *ewww*

This is daddy teaching his princess to use the bino properly <3

This is daddy teaching his princess to use the bino properly ❤

A Juvenile heron at the toilet area.  Here is K in the making of a future Nat Geo photographer.  The key to a good photograph is not to scare the animal with your presence.  Mummy is dreaming again :)

A Juvenile heron at the toilet area. Here is K in the making of a future Nat Geo photographer. The key to a good photograph is not to scare the animal with your presence. Mummy is dreaming again 🙂

20150201_170619_resize_20150202_171123_0

Sankar pointed out a baby monitor lizard at the entrance of mangrove boardwalk.

Sankar pointed out a baby monitor lizard at the entrance of mangrove boardwalk.  As with all baby animals, R finds them very cute.

There are many creatures look out for in the mangroves, such as mudskippers, tree-climbing crabs, herons and monitor lizards. Sometimes, you may even spot kingfishers and water snakes! It will certainly be an unforgettable experience with your friends and family!  In the above sighting of the baby monitor lizard, we learnt from Sankar that monitor lizards are good climbers.  Their young lives in trees until they are old enough to fend for themselves.  Monitor lizards eat insects, birds, rodents, fish, frogs, other reptiles, eggs, and any other animal small enough for them to catch.

Sea Holly shrub.  The leaves are apparently poisonous.

Sea Holly shrub. The leaves are apparently poisonous.

Somebody spotted a grey-coloured cockatoo in the trees and feasting on a Pong Pong fruit.   We learnt that the poison from the Pong Pong fruit was used in the olden days to kill rats.  Perhaps our Town Councils should explore some relatively cheaper methods of killing rats instead letting the rats community grow then spend hundreds of thousands of residents’ money in eradicating them.  And then blame residents for feeding strays.

Cockatoo feasting on a Pong Pong fruit.  We learnt that the poison from the Pong Pong fruit was used in the olden days to kill rats.

Cockatoo feasting on a Pong Pong fruit.

We didn’t see too many mudskippers around on Sunday.  It was said that there hadn’t been too much rain and hence water puddles like this is not everywhere.  We also learnt that the mudskipper, though is a fish, is completely amphibious and that they can use their pectoral fins to walk on land.

20150201_174154_resize_20150202_171041_0

The kids spotted this fluffy tiny insect crawling on the wooden railing.  One of the Dunman High students told us this is the Plant Hopper Nymph.  Look at it’s size compared to the wood grain.  R was super fascinated with this cute little thing and spent quite a while watching it.  🙂

20150201_175116_resize_20150202_171040_0

And this below is national geographic moment – three weaver ants attacking a golden backside ant.  R spotted it and went back some 20 metres of path to find me, insisting that I needed to see this. 🙂  We watched the ants for a good few minutes.  Neither party gave up their fight.  R doesn’t dare to interfere for fear of getting bitten.  We don’t know the fate of the golden-backside ant when we left.

20150201_175823_resize_20150202_171039_0

Further down closer to the jetty, we came by many attap trees.  The kids learnt that these attap leaves were used to make the roofs of attap houses in the olden kampong days, hence the name.  And each fruit that we see, only has one attap seed in it, therefore the expensive price.  K’s favorite tidbit is attap seed.  She would always go for it from the bowl of ice kacang.  I’m glad that she has the chance to see the real tree and fruit during this walk because…………………I thought that these trees are palm trees actually.  I would have taught her wrong thing if not for the guides.  >.<

20150201_181148_resize_20150202_171036_0a

The walk ended at the jetty.  Everybody enjoyed the walk and the scenery ahead.  We saw many birds flying home to their nest.  And a heron’s nest that my handphone is unable to capture.  We also saw “fruit-bearing” mangrove plants lining the river-side (Sungei Tampines).  Mangroves reproduce by “giving birth” to live young.  The “fruits” that we see hanging on mangrove plants are actually it’s young, waiting for suitable time to drop from it’s mother tree.  And because of it’s weight and shape, it will plunge right into the swamp vertically and start taking roots from there.

20150201_184737_resize_20150202_170933_0

The kids also learnt that mangroves have stilt roots in order to secure themselves in the water.  I also took the opportunity to explain to K about the loss of mangrove habitat due to urbanisation (city growth with new buildings as she understands) was partly to blame for the catastrophic effect of tsunami in Phuket some years back.  If there was a mangrove habitat, the intense root system and trees would have absorbed most of the impact before passing on.  She told me she doesn’t know what is tsunami (that was one of my puke blood moments if truth be told!)

And there is something secretly that I have knowledge of – mangrove trees take in partial salt water due to it’s proximity to the sea.  While other plants will die if you water it with saltwater, mangroves trees have a way to “regurgitate” salt and discharge from it’s system from the underside of it’s leaves.  So if you flip over one, you will feel something white and “sandy”.  Go taste it!  “It feels like salt” ;p

At the Mangrove Jetty

At the end of the trip, the volunteers took out their stack of drawing paper and colouring supplies, and invited all the kids to draw what they had seen earlier.  The kids were delighted with the availability of colour pencils and paper and instantly sat down to draw.

It's Drawing Time

It’s Drawing Time at Mangrove Jetty

20150201_182338_resize_20150202_171009_0

I love this look!  If only she does her homework so seriously always.

I love this look! If only she does her homework so seriously always.

Their completed art work <3

Their completed art work ❤

The amazingly humble Mr Wong sharing with us his sketches of nature & water-colour painting captured at Sg Buloh Nature Reserves.  Awesome max!

The amazingly humble Mr Wong sharing with us his sketches of nature & water-colour painting captured at Sg Buloh Nature Reserves. Awesome max!

Parting Shots

Here is R charming all the ladies with his smile and art work.  I think he is secretly enjoying all the attention too.

20150201_185128_resize_20150202_170930_0

Group Shot

Group Shot

Mangroves at Other Areas in Singapore

Besides Pasir Ris Mangroves, the Naked Hermit Crabs also conduct free guided walks at Chek Jawa, Pulau Semakau and Kusu Island.  They do not hold private tours and all their guided tours are FREE! for the public.  So do hop over to their website and keep a look out for the next tour by signing up for their newsletter via email (nakedhermitcrabs@gmail.com ).  It will be a memorable outdoor lesson for the kids which we can never get to experience from photographs or books.

Naked Hermit Crabs

Website : http://nakedhermitcrabs.blogspot.sg
Email : nakedhermitcrabs@gmail.com

The Naked Hermit Crabs has also re-opened the registration for Chek Jawa Boardwalk at Pulau Ubin following the completion of the reconstruction of board walk by National Parks Board (NParks).  The first date is 11 April 2015.  Do check out their blog post for the latest updates.

We hope that you have enjoyed reading our blog.  Pls Like! us on Facebook if you would like to be updated with our posts.  Thank you for coming by and we hope to see you again 🙂

– SAys! Shirley

Advertisements

About SAys! Happy Mums

We are a Singapore Mum Blog hosted by BFFs Shirley & Audrey. We blog about our children, parenting and family lifestyle. Most often than not, we find ourselves immersed in family and kids entertainment and can't escape from the lure of great food!

3 thoughts on “Naked Hermit Crab – Pasir Ris Mangrove Walk

  1. Hi Shirley,
    Thank you so much for your kind words and I’m really glad you all enjoyed the walk! I had great fun too!
    By the way, the tree from which the attached seeds come from are called Nipah Palms. You were not wrong in saying they are palm trees! ;Do
    Best wishes,
    Sankar

    Like

  2. Hi Shirley,
    Thank you so much for your kind words and I’m so glad you enjoyed yourselves. I had great fun too!
    By the way, the tree where we get attached seeds and leaves from its called the Nipah Palm. So you weren’t wrong in saying it was a palm tree! 😉
    Sankar

    Like

  3. Pingback: (2015) June Holidays Do What | SAys! Happy Mums

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s