Sightings of saltwater crocodiles in S'pore

Crocodiles can usually be seen sunbathing and swimming at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, but they have also been spotted at Changi, Pasir Ris and Lower Seletar, with the latest sighting at East Coast Park on Tuesday.

The species found here is the Estuarine crocodile, which is native to Singapore and feeds mostly on fish, said Dr Adrian Loo, group director of wildlife management at the National Parks Board (NParks).

Also known as saltwater crocodiles, they can reach more than 5m in length, according to NParks' website.

The existence of these apex predators occupying the top of the food chain means Singapore has a stable, healthy ecosystem, Ms Kate Pocklington, senior conservator at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at the National University of Singapore, wrote in her e-book about saltwater crocodiles here.

The Straits Times recaps some sightings of the world's largest reptile in Singapore.

JUNE 2019, SUNGEI KADUT

A 3.4m-long crocodile was caught after it was spotted in a drain in Sungei Kadut Drive on June 21.

NParks officers worked with trained contractors to catch the crocodile, which was transferred to a crocodile farm. It is believed it had entered the drainage system from Sungei Pang Sua river.

Wildlife experts said the injured reptile may have been fleeing from a territorial fight or may have been relocating from Malaysia.

FEBRUARY 2019, LOWER SELETAR RESERVOIR

A 1.7m-long crocodile was trapped in the early hours of Feb 23 by national water agency PUB and NParks. Water and fishing activities had been scaled back after it was seen on Feb 14.

The authorities caught the reptile and released it into the wild as a safety precaution.

NOVEMBER 2017, EAST COAST PARK

A crocodile was spotted at a construction site in East Coast Park, prompting the National Sailing Centre - which is located at the park - to suspend all water activities for a few days.

AUGUST 2017, CHANGI BEACH PARK AND PASIR RIS PARK

Two sightings of a crocodile swimming in the waters along Changi Beach Park were reported.

A 2m-long crocodile was also seen basking in the sun on a mudflat at Sungei Tampines in Pasir Ris Park.

JULY 2017, KRANJI WAY

A 1.5m-long crocodile died after it was hit by a car on July 5. There have been crocodile sightings in the Kranji Way area as it is close to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

APRIL 2014, KRANJI RESERVOIR

The carcass of a 3.6m-long crocodile, nicknamed Barney, was found by anglers at Kranji Reservoir.

The 400kg reptile, believed to be one of the largest wild specimens here, was found dead with a metal rod in its eye and a large fishing hook lodged in its mouth, said PUB.

It said then that since 1989, it had authorised a team of handlers to capture the reptiles alive and hand them to a farm in Kranji for safekeeping.

Dr Loo said: "Should members of the public encounter a crocodile, they should stay calm and back away slowly. They should not approach, provoke or feed the animal."

The public can call NParks on 1800-471-7300.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2021, with the headline 'Sightings of saltwater crocodiles in S'pore'. Subscribe