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Encounter With A Monitor Lizard

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Written by Choy Yu Feng, 1E4 and Mr William Teng

Here is a student contribution:

'Location: Punggol Park


A Malayan water monitor in the drain Photo credit: Choy Yu Feng
A closer look Photo credit: Choy Yu Feng
The lizard running away Photo credit: Choy Yu Feng
Encounter:  I was walking home when I met this reptile. I was walking when I heard the leaves in the drain move. I looked down at the drain and saw this reptile running away. It was about 35 cm* long . There was many holes in the ground connecting to the drain to prevent flooding and that/s how i guess it went in.'

*The lizard appears to be at least 60 cm long.

The Asian water monitor or Malayan water monitor (Varanus salvator) is a commonly sighted lizard in this part of Singapore because of the many canals and waterways. They are excellent swimmers and have powerful legs and claws. Do exercise caution if you come across them. These lizards have many sharp teeth and can give gashing bites that can sever tendons and vein…

Bulbuls in School (Updated)

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Written by Mr William Teng

Bulbuls have been spotted in the school compound recently and specifically at the greenery in the roundabout in front of the school foyer.

A family of yellow-vented bulbuls are roosting in one of the palms there and quite a number of staff has seen them. Our vice-principal, Mr Derek Lee, has observed that they are particularly active in the evening.

The palm where the birds are roosting Photo: Mr William Teng
Two teachers - Ms Minnoli and Mrs Franklin spotted a young yellow-vented bulbul fledgeling (a young bird that has grown feathers and is learning to fly) and took photos of it. We were warned not to approach it because its parents were aggressive and protective of it.

Yellow-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) Photo: Ms Minnoli
Yellow-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) Photo: Mrs Franklin
You can see that it still has its down feathers and appears rather fluffy. I managed to spot the young bird today and it is now able to fly.

Yellow-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus goia…

Lizards in Lorong Halus Wetlands

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Written by: Mr William Teng
Lizards intrigue me. I would not say that I like them but they are rather fascinating to observe. A common lizard is the house gecko which I tend to steer clear of.
Last year's visit to Lorong Halus Wetlands during our Innovation Week provided us with opportunities to observe two species of lizard.
The first one is the changeable lizard (Calotes versicolor), an agamid lizard. 'A key distinguishing feature of agamids is their teeth, which are borne on the outer rim of their mouths (acrodonts), rather than on the inner side of their jaws (pleurodonts)' [1]. This one was found on a cattail in the wetlands, warming itself up.
Photo: Mr William Teng
Many people are probably familiar with house geckos detaching their tails and growing new ones. The agamids generally lack this regenerative ability.
The changeable lizard got its name because it is able to change its colouration. Its ground-colour is generally a light brownish olive, but the lizard can change …

Singapore Garden Festival 2018 (II): A Visit

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Written by: Olivia Cheng and Miranda Ong, Class 1E4
The Singapore Garden Festival was once again held at Gardens by the Bay this year. In order to fulfill the requirement of the Natural Journalism module that we participated in as the school's Community-in-Nature ambassadors, we went there to view the gardens and interview the visitors to seek their opinions on the festival and nature.

Morning Glory Photo: Olivia Cheng
We got to see many different species of plant that we have never seen before including Musella and Fuschia. Coincidentally, these were the same flowers that caught my fellow journalist's eye and she also wrote about them in the post preceding this. According to Wikipedia, 'Musella is a formerly accepted plant genus in the banana and plantain family', considered by most authorities to be a taxonomic synonym of the genus Ensete' [1]. Prior to visiting Gardens by the Bay, I did not even know that these flowers actually existed. Their colours were vibrant an…

Singapore Garden Festival 2018: Beauty of Nature

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Written by: Juwini Binte Ramlan, Class 2A2

The Amazing ExperienceIt was such a great privilege to be back at the Gardens by the Bay. What made this visit special is that it is my first time attending the Singapore Garden Festival and exploring the site beyond the popular Flower Dome and Cloud Forest.

Photo: Mr William Teng, Gardens by the Bay, 24 July 2018

As we had to walk quite a distance to reach the main site of the Singapore Garden Festival 2018, I discovered a lot of plants that I had never seen before along the way. One of these includes a species of banana shown in the picture below. Only the genus name Musella was provided so I did not know what species it is.
Musella
Photo: Juwini Binte Ramlan, @Gardens by the Bay, 24 July 2018
The Fuschia blossoms also caught my eye with their vivid colours.
Fuschia
Photo: Juwini Binte Ramlan, Gardens by the Bay, 24 July 2018
It was a sunny and balmy day but that did not deter the visitors - both local and overseas - from viewing the beautiful exhib…

The Greendale State of Things

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Written by: Pamela Ooi, Class 2E2
Located opposite the Design, Technology and Engineering (DTE) lab is our school garden. It is a place that is packed with rich biodiversity and many different types of plants. One of them is the Sansevieria cylindrica, also known as the cylindrical snake plant. It is a succulent plant native to Angola. This unique plant has striped, elongate, smooth, greenish-grey subcylindrical leaves. This species of plant is interesting in having subcylindrical instead of strap-shaped leaves caused by failure to express genes that would cause the cylindrical bud to differentiate dorsoventrally or produce a distinctive and familiar top and bottom surface to the leaf blade.
Sansevieria cylindrica
Photo: Andrea M. "Steam" Rivolta (via worldofsucculents.com)
Another interesting plant is Vitex trifolia. Vitex trifolia, also known as the simpleleaf chaste tree, is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine and described by 'Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic' as…