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Plant of the Month
Plant Trickery
Although not a formal public holiday, we recognise April Fool’s Day as a day of pranks and trickery to others. Interestingly, some plants also have some tricks up their sleeves! But their purpose is not so much to play a prank, but rather to trick and capture unsuspecting insects for consumption. One good example is our very own native Narrow-lid Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes ampullaria). Most carnivorous plants, like pitcher plants, grow in nutrient-deficient soils, so they have to catch insects to make up for the lack of nutrients. How it works is that the pitcher plant produces a sweet-smelling liquid at the bottom of their “cup” structure. Any unlucky insect will be lured in for a quick meal, and once it falls in, the poor insect will find it impossible to get out due to the slippery inner walls. The insect gradually drowns and becomes food for the plant. Fascinating indeed! Click on the button below to learn more.
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Animal of the Month
Common Palm Civet
The Common Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), also known as musang or toddy cat, is a nocturnal mammal found in both urban and forested areas of Singapore. This omnivore feeds on small prey and fruit and defecates viable seeds, making it a potential seed disperser. The excreted coffee beans occasionally ingested by this species of wild civet in parts of the Southeast Asian region are used to produce the world's most expensive coffee, kopi luwak. However, the reputation of this industry has been tainted by their reported cruel treatment of poaching and caging the palm civets. In Singapore, civets face the threat of being trapped or becoming roadkill due to the proximity of civet habitats to humans.
Interestingly, the secretions from its anal scent glands have been described as smelling like pandan, so if you ever smell pandan in an area without such plants, keep your eyes peeled for these shy creatures, recognisable by the presence of a black facial mask across their eyes. Find out more about this charismatic animal and celebrate its existence as Singapore’s last wild native urban carnivore!
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Did You Know?
Spiny Hill Terrapin
The hatchlings of the Spiny Hill Terrapin (Heosemys spinosa) has spiky edges on its carapace. During adult, the spines become less obvious, except on the hind edges of the shell. They are found mostly in the Central Nature Reserves.
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What's Up?
Fauna News
International Day for Biological Diversity - 22 May
The United Nations proclaimed 22 May, the International Day for Biological Diversity to raise understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. The theme for 2014 is Island Biodiversity. Learn more.
Flora News
© 2013 National Parks Board, Singapore.