Strictly: Snakes, Squirrels and Sea Lions

This is the post I have been looking forward to writing, because this is the outing I have been looking forward to since before I arrived in Singapore. Prepare for hundreds of pictures of animals, because today is the day I talk about going to the zoo. In our bumper week of sightseeing it was inevitable that we were going to end up at Singapore Zoo, ranked as one of the best conservation zoos in the world and, I have to say, I want to know what other zoos the people of the world think are better because I have to go there and prove them all wrong. Singapore Zoo is amazing and if I was one to spend my time writing rubbish trip advisor reviews I would gush about it until the cows came home and challenge someone to send me to a better zoo.

Thanks wikipedia. I was too excited to think about photography when I got this close to the entrance.

Before I prattle on about all the amazing animals I have to give a brief mention to the frankly horrible journey we had to suffer before we reached the zoo. As zoo aficionados will appreciate you can’t really dump a zoo of this calibre in the middle of a city, so understandably Singapore zoo is a bit out of the way. The first stage of getting there, on the trusty MRT, was fine, but it was the bus journey we had to endure after that was painful. For some reason the roads of Singapore boast more bus stops than probably exist in the whole of England, people really hate to walk here, at all, and so any bus inevitably stops fifty thousand times before you actually reach where you want to go. This turned a journey that would normally take twenty or so minutes into one that was crawling towards an hour. Secondly, old people in Singapore are mean. Christie learned the hard way that if you get in the way of an old Singaporean they will literally shove you out of the way as we queued (and I use that word in the loosest sense) for said bus. By the looks of things they are in the process of building an MRT station within throwing distance of the zoo, so the horror of our situation will probably soon be a thing of the past, but for anyone thinking of going in the immediate future heed my warning.


Anyway, rant over, now onto the good stuff. Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good zoo, in fact I love a mediocre-to-good zoo, so as you can imagine I got just a little bit overexcited at the prospect of a great zoo, especially as I was with two people who love zoos probably as much as I do. I’m going to try my best not to just list all the animals we saw at the zoo, and instead give an overview of the best bits, but I can’t make any promises, I can already feel the excitement building. We arrived a little later than planned, naturally, but decided that 5 and a half hours was more than enough time to get around the whole zoo. Boy, were we wrong, it’s massive. The Singaporeans definitely know how to draw you in, no sooner had we walked through the gates than we came across some free roaming white-faced saki monkeys, casually swinging in some trees, as you do.


The range of primates and monkeys at Singapore zoo is really impressive, and they were probably the highlight of my day. Even more so because the majority of them are more-or-less free roaming. This is no more true than with the orang utans, who are free to go where they please. Of course, they have Orang utan island, catering for pretty much any orang utan need, but it’s nice to know that they have free reign if they ever get bored. It’s even better to be able to stroll along the boardwalk and get within touching distance of actual orang utans, presuming of course that they care enough about your zoo experience to come and say hello (spoiler, they don’t. They’re more than happy to keep on doing their orang utan thing and ignore you completely). There were whole orang utan families by the looks of it, and they certainly put on a good show for us with two babies chasing and harassing an adult orang utan through the trees. We could have quite happily stayed there watching them all day, but we had barely made a dent in the distance we had to walk, and so we moved onto other creatures.

“‘ang on Dave, I’m comin’. Don’t start without me.” “‘s alright Steve, take yur time. I’m just gunna sit here and watch ya struggle.”

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Other monkeys of note included an incredibly depressed looking gibbon, who may or may not have been having an existential crisis, the hilariously nosed proboscis monkey, a mandrill throwing a paddy, the chimpanzees riled up by his fit and a colony of over 90 Hamadryas Baboons who had the most disgusting looking backsides of probably any animal ever. Because I’m not that obsessive I didn’t photograph them all, but enjoy a few snapshots of some of my favourites.


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DSCF1569 I could talk about those monkeys all day. But luckily for you, I won’t. Instead I’ll move on to another one of my highlights, the fragile forest, an indoor rainforest which was not only one of the best parts of the day but, simultaneously, one of the worst. Namely because Christie and I got harassed by some scary-as mutant pigeons. Now, I’m not particularly a fan of your normal, run of the mill pigeons, but whatever type of pigeon these were I can tell you that they are an abomination against nature. About twice the size of a normal pigeon with absurd feathers sticking out of the top of their heads they obviously had some issues with each other and proceeded to go on the attack while we cowered with a thoroughly terrified deer mouse (which is a thing, I promise). It was by far the most traumatic part of my day, more so than the violent old women on the bus, and as much as I enjoyed spotting the flying foxes, ring-tailed lemurs, spider monkeys and camouflaged sloth in the fragile forest I was glad to leave the GM pigeon behind. The only positive about discovering that these hellish creatures exist was that we got to watch one being mercilessly harassed by some lovebirds.


Deer Mouse!!!


So friends, we’ve nearly come to the end of our zoo journey. Of course, this wasn’t the end of my zoo journey, far from it, if I recounted every animal we’d seen and my excitement over everyone we’d be here all week. But I promised no lists, and lists are not something you will be getting on this blog. But before we wrap it up lets just talk about some more animals. Obviously. Number 1 is the majestic white tiger, Omar. Now, I have to say that I really don’t like it at zoos when animals are just pacing about their enclosures and Omar was doing a lot of pacing. It can’t be nice having dozens of faces staring at you, especially when you’re a tiger, and I felt sad for Omar because he was all alone in his enclosure. I felt even sadder for him because white tigers are extinct in the wild and there are only a handful left in captivity, so there’s no chance of him ever having a life outside of the zoo. I hope he enjoys his life in the zoo, he definitely has a sweet deal with a jungle like enclosure and his own private river for those sweltering afternoons. There was the proper quota of African game animals: elephants, zebras, leopards, lions, giraffes, (compare the) meerkats and a family of beautiful white rhinos. These live alongside some more exotic animals, including tapirs who come with their own hilarious creation myth, an absolutely massive monitor lizard and something called a babirusa which looks like the toothy monster that tries to eat Luke in Jabba’s palace. Finally, as my title suggests there were snakes – big scary ones who thankfully lived behind glass, hyperactive squirrels from all over the world, and a sea lion called Pedro who did a splash show. These are another thing that I’m sceptical about, but it’s obvious that Pedro is well looked after and that he loves his trainer, and it strikes me that sea lions are a lot like dogs so I don’t think they mind entertaining tourists.

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And here we reach the end of our zoo journey. I said it at the start and I’ll say it again, Singapore Zoo is amazing, and if someone tells me of a better zoo anywhere in the world I will disbelieve it until I see it. Of course, we only did the zoo, not the River Safari or the Night Safari, so expect more animal based antics in the near future.

There were actual giant tortoises, but god knows what they would do if you got this close.

Leah Out X


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