Flora index
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guide to the mangroves of singapore
Mangroves in Singapore to visit
Peter K L Ng and N Sivasothi (editors)
  Introduction to visiting mangroves

Two areas of the remaining mangrove forests in Singapore are conserved: Sungei Buloh Nature Park and Pasir Ris Park. These areas are recommended for visits since they have facilities.

Visitors to these areas should bring sufficient water, food, an umbrella (for rain or sun) or raincoat, mosquito repellent, binoculars, camera, cap, and a backpack with a towel and a change of clothes. It is best to dress in light cotton clothes as it can be very humid, especially on sunny days and wear comfortable walking shoes. Note that while mosquito repellent may be a good general precaution, liberal doses may drive away insects that you wish to observe!
group of students in a mangrove forest
Students take
their first look at mangroves, under
the supervision of experienced guides
You do not have to worry about tides because there are walkways in both parks. Remember to cheek for the time and height of the tide by checking the swimming times in the newspapers.

Visitors are advised to get out of the mangrove during thunderstorms. Singapore has the dubious distinction of being one of the most lightning-prone areas in the world. The risk in mangrove areas is also increased as lightning tends to be attracted to seawater and the generally low height of mangroves also means that a strike can occur practically anywhere. So never shelter under a tree!

Many mangrove animals are shy and require patience to observe, which is best done alone or in a small group. Settle down comfortably in a quiet spot and do not move. You will be surprised at the animals that will begin to appear. Note that all parks are protected areas and you cannot collect plants or animals without approval from the National Parks Board.

It is important to consider the time of your visit, for besides the different ambience, you will see, hear and smell different things at different times. Here are some obvious differences:
Low tide: You can see features of plant roots (e.g. buttress), pneumatophores (e.g. pencil, kneed), moths, snails, mudskippers, springtails, sea slugs and most fiddler and semaphore crabs feeding.
close-up of grazing snails
Telescopium shells grazing
during low tide
In exposed areas closer to a boardwalk on a river bank, you might see larger animals also looking for food—herons, waterhens, dogs, macaques and people; the latter especially in the mudflats. It is also easier to see resident intertidal fish (mainly gobies), cichlid fish making nests, horseshoe crabs in shallow streams and pools, and you will hear snapping shrimps.

High tide: Picturesque for walks, bivalves and anemones are filter-feeding, crabs and fish swim in from the sea, some jump out of water to evade predators, archer fish are hunting, crabs and snails climb up trees to evade predators, mudskippers and snakes are moving about, and during the migratory period, waders move inshore to dry ponds and are easier to watch.

Night: Some moth-pollinated flowers release scents, tree-climbing crabs roam the forest floor and climb trees, snakes hunt in streams, assorted invertebrates (crickets, moths, beetles) and monitor lizards emerge, and, if you are lucky, fireflies may be blinking away!
What is mangrove?

The Ecosystem


Indirect uses
Potential uses

About Mangroves
in Singapore

Mangroves to visit
From "A Guide to Mangroves of Singapore", Peter K. L. Ng and N. Sivasothi (editors)
Volume 1: The Ecosystem and Plant Diversity and Volume 2: Animal Diversity
Authors: Kelvin K. P. Lim, Dennis H. Murphy, T. Morgany, N. Sivasothi, Peter K. L. Ng,
B. C. Soong, Hugh T. W. Tan, K. S. Tan & T. K. Tan
BP Guide to Nature Series published by the Singapore Science Centre, sponsored by British Petroleum
2001 Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, The National University of Singapore & The Singapore Science Centre