Beauty of the Wilderness Wildlife You Can See in Singapore
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Beauty of the Wilderness: Wildlife You Can See in Singapore

Singapore holds a reputation for being one of the most highly urbanized countries, but did you know that it’s also home to countless wildlife? I also didn’t know this before, so I was mindblown when I became a permanent resident and discovered this truth. 

So far, from my various travels around the island, I’ve spotted monkeys, birds, and even otters. Many of the wildlife here are native and endangered, but luckily, there are efforts in place to conserve them. 

Curious to know what kinds of wildlife you can see in Singapore? I’ve got you covered. Here, I’ve listed my favorite wild animals on the island, information on where you can find them, and more, so be sure to check this article out.

Singapore Wildlife Loss

Singapore Wildlife Loss

Before Singapore became the urban paradise that we know now, it was once covered in rainforests. So, during that time, there were many flora and fauna on the island that were native to the Malay Peninsula. 

Things changed when the British came and established a colony in Singapore. Deforestation started, and countless species of fish, birds, and mammals became locally extinct. 

Additionally, a study published in the journal Nature reported that over the course of 183 years, Singapore has lost about 95% of its local natural habitats. In 2020, another report claimed that 464 species (22%) out of 2,076 are now considered extinct.

How is Singapore wildlife friendly now?

How is Singapore wildlife friendly now

Since Singapore has lost a great number of natural habitats and species, the government has made it a priority to implement conservation efforts. As a result, the island is now friendly to wildlife. 

The conservation efforts that are put into place to save native and endangered species include

  • Species Conservation and Recovery Programs. There are various programs under this category, and they all have different focuses. 
  • Coral Nursery Project. This is a marine rehabilitation program that aims to restore the current coral cover in Singapore. To do this, they have established a coral nursery off Pulau Semakau. 
  • Active, Beautiful, and Clean (ABC) Waters Program. This program aims to clean the waterways in Singapore to protect native animals and plants.
  • Volunteer and Outreach Programs. These programs aim to educate citizens about nature conservation and encourage them to partake in any of the efforts when they can.

Where can I find wildlife in Singapore?

Where can I find wildlife in Singapore

The parks, nature reserves, zoos, and aquariums scattered all throughout Singapore are another part of the government’s conservation efforts, so you can find most of the island’s wildlife in any of them. 

For this reason, many visitors bring binoculars when going to a park because they want to spot as many wild animals (usually birds) as possible. Personally, I love going to parks to hike on trails, but nature spotting is a great activity too. 

Here are some of the parks, nature reserves, and zoos that house numerous wildlife species in Singapore.

Parks and Nature Reserves

Singapore Botanic Gardens 

Singapore Botanic Gardens


Address: 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday – 5 am to 12 am

Price: Free

Established in 1859, Singapore Botanic Gardens is the country’s oldest garden. It was created so that botanists could grow and experiment with different plants, and it’s now playing an integral role in the island’s botanical and agricultural development.

Even though the Gardens is largely known for being an institute for botany, it’s also a favorite spot for bird watchers because of the variety of birds found here. 

Some of the spots that I think are perfect for bird-watching include the SPH Walk of Giants, Symphony Lake, and the Keppel Discovery Wetlands.

Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay


Address: 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday – 5 am to 2 am 

Price: Free, except for a few attractions inside (Cloud Forest, Flower Dome, Floral Fantasy, Supertree Observatory, and OCBC Skyway)

If Singapore Botanic Gardens is considered the most popular park in Singapore, then Gardens by the Bay is a close second. This attraction is best known for its architectural marvels and colorful displays, but it’s also home to various habitats and wildlife species.

To discover the wildlife in this park, I would recommend strolling along the Kingfisher Wetlands Trail. This trail has various diverse ecosystems, allowing you to spot many amazing animals roaming freely. 

If you’re more of an aquatic life enthusiast, the Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes are the places to be. 

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve 

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve


Address: Hindhede Dr, Singapore 589318 

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday – 7 am to 7 pm

Price: Free

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is another one of Singapore’s oldest parks. Its creation can be traced back to 1883 when the superintendent of the Botanic Gardens at the time wanted to establish forests throughout the island to protect local flora and fauna. 

To this day, this nature reserve is still a safe haven for wildlife. In fact, you can find more more than 500 species of animals here. 

In my opinion, the best way to explore this park is to go on a hike. You’ll be surprised to discover what animals (and plants too if you’re a botany enthusiast) are in here, and who doesn’t want to immerse themselves in the greenery, away from the bustling city?

Jurong Lake Gardens 

Jurong Lake Gardens


Address: Yuan Ching Rd, Singapore 

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday – open 24 hours

Price: Free

Jurong Lake Gardens is my favorite public park in Singapore’s western side. Its mini-attractions are just so scenic that I can’t help but whip out my camera phone and snap a few photos to capture all that beauty.

Bird watching is one of the most beloved things to do here, and one of the best spots to do that is the Grasslands. Heron Island is another great place for bird lovers because it’s a spacious island where birds and other wild animals are free to breed and thrive.

If you’re more of a casual bird watcher, I suggest strolling along Rasau Walk. It’s a boardwalk that passes by several clusters of restored freshwater swamps, so there are a lot of opportunities to spot wildlife.

Central Catchment Nature Reserve

Central Catchment Nature Reserve


Address: 601 Island Club Road, Singapore

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday – 7 am to 7 pm 

Price: Free

In a way, the Central Catchment Nature Reserve is the green lung in central Singapore. It features 2,000 hectares of forests, and they’re not just any forest; they’re the ones remaining from the rainforests that once covered Singapore.

Because of this, wild animals here are extremely protected. You’ll still be able to enjoy a hike here and check out the various wildlife—but only from afar.

My favorite attraction within this nature reserve is the MacRitchie Reservoir Park. This park has so many amazing hiking trails, so you can really get lost in the beauty of nature every time. 

Zoos and Aquariums

Singapore Zoo

— From: jtemplet1


Address: 80 Mandai Lake Rd, Singapore 729826

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday – 8:30 am to 6 pm


  • Adult – S$48
  • Child (ages 3 to 12) – S$33
  • Adult (local resident) – S$43.20
  • Child (local resident) – S$29.70
  • Senior Citizen (local resident, ages 60 and above) – S$20

Opened in 1973, the Singapore Zoo is one of the parks that comprise the Mandai Wildlife Reserve (more details on the other parks later on). It’s also arguably the reserve’s most popular attraction, drawing in two million visitors every year. 

This zoo features roughly 315 animal species, and a great number of them are considered to be endangered. Additionally, it’s home to the largest colony of orangutans.

My favorite thing about this zoo is that the animals are placed in exhibits and enclosures that mimic their natural habitats. Because of this, it’s so easy to feel immersed when roaming around the zoo. 

Night Safari

— From: nami.hanoi_sg 


Address: 80 Mandai Lake Rd, Singapore 729826 

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday – 7:15 pm to 12 am 


  • Adult – S$55
  • Child (ages 3 to 12) – S$38
  • Adult (local resident) – S$49.50
  • Child (local resident) – S$34.20
  • Senior Citizen (local resident, ages 60 and above) – S$20

Night Safari is the second park included in the Mandai Wildlife Reserve, and it’s one that I find the most fascinating simply because of its concept. It’s a nocturnal zoo—the first of its kind in the world—so it features nocturnal animals and opens at night. 

The immersion you’ll get when visiting this place is unparalleled. The environment is like the one you’ll find in humid tropical forests, and the light fixtures resemble moonlight. 

Just like the Singapore Zoo, the Night Safari is divided into several themed exhibits, so you can see all kinds of animals—from an Asian small-clawed otter to Indian rhinoceros to African buffalos and so many more. 

River Wonders

— From: gardengirl_45 


Address: 80 Mandai Lake Rd, Singapore 729826

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday – 10 am to 7 pm


  • Adult – S$42
  • Child (ages 3 to 12) – S$30
  • Adult (local resident) – S$37.80
  • Child (local resident) – S$27
  • Senior Citizen (local resident, ages 60 and above) – S$20

Nestled between the Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari, River Wonders is a river-themed zoo and aquarium in Mandai. It’s the first river-themed zoo in Asia, and it features various freshwater exhibits and boat rides to explore the attractions.

My favorite exhibit has to be the Giant Panda Forest, but I may be biased because I’ve always had a soft spot for pandas ever since I was a child. Seeing the pandas roam around in their natural habitat is just so adorable, and I love learning more about them.

Another one of my favorites is Wild Amazonia, which comes with various enclosures that house green anacondas, brown-nosed coatimundis, and other wild animals usually found in the Amazon. 

Bird Paradise 

— From: walking_on_the_green_side


Address: 20 Mandai Lake Rd, Singapore 729825 

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday – 9 am to 6 pm 


  • Adult – S$38
  • Child (ages 3 to 12) – S$23
  • Adult (local resident) – S$34.20
  • Child (local resident) – S$20.70
  • Senior Citizen (local resident, ages 60 and above) – S$20

Bird Paradise is a relatively new addition to the Mandai Wildlife Reserve—in fact, it only had its soft opening last May 8, 2023—but it’s already shaping up to be an attraction worth checking out. 

As you can gather from the name, Bird Paradise is home to various bird species, such as Roseate Spoonbills and American Flamingos. There are also penguins here, which I’m thrilled by because I love penguins. 

Bird-watching isn’t the only thing you can do here. You can also feed the animals and watch presentations to learn more about avian life. 

The experience is very much fun and rewarding!

S.E.A. Aquarium 

— From: yuniqueyuni


Address: 8 Sentosa Gateway, Sentosa Island, Singapore 098269

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday – 10 am to 5 pm

Price: One-Day Ticket – S$30

Located on Sentosa Island, S.E.A. Aquarium is the place to be for lovers of marine animals. There are over 100,000 marine animals here, and they span over 1,000 species across 45 habitats—how exciting is that?

It’s so easy to get lost in the aquarium’s atmosphere, just wandering down the tunnels while checking out all the animals. To top it all off, this place also hosts various interactive programs so that you can learn more about marine life. 

If you really want an even more memorable experience, you can get a VIP package, which includes tickets to Dolphin Island. But just as it is, the S.E.A. Aquarium is a haven for marine enthusiasts.

What kinds of wild animals can I see in Singapore?

What kinds of wild animals can I see in Singapore

Singapore is home to countless species of animals. Roughly, there are about 28,000 species of terrestrial organisms and about 17,000 species of marine organisms. 

In other words, there’s no way we can talk about all the wild animals found in Singapore. That said, there are still some wild animals that stand out, and you can find them in parks, nature reserves, and zoos.

Here are some of my favorite wild animals that can be found in Singapore, divided into five categories. 


Finlayson’s Squirrel

— From: calestine.kaz.chee

Binomial Name: Callosciurus finlaysonii

Species Status: Exotic/Introduced

Habitats: Parks, gardens, terrestrial

Also known as the variable squirrel, Finlayson’s squirrel is commonly found in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, but it was eventually introduced in Singapore. 

This squirrel usually seems small in photos, but it’s actually not that tiny. Its head-and-body length is about 22 cm, and its tail can reach just as long. 

As for its appearance, it’s usually brown, black, or cream, but other color combinations (e.g. gray and red) have also been spotted. 

Finlayson’s squirrel is active at all times of the day, and terrestrial is its main habitat. 

Because of this, you’re likely to spot it whenever you’re in a park or garden. I even spotted one at a suburban parkland and an open wooded area that I was passing by!

Banded Leaf Monkey

— From: jaznotabi 

Binomial Name: Presbytis femoralis

Species Status: Native 

Habitats: Forest, terrestrial

Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

The banded leaf monkey is commonly known as Raffles’ banded langur, and it’s an animal species that was once rampant in Singapore. Unfortunately, throughout the decades, its numbers dwindled, and by 2022, there are only 30 of them left. 

Because of this, you can only find banded leaf monkeys in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, where they are strictly kept to save their species from extinction. 

They’re active during the day, so it’s highly likely that you’ll come across one if you’re on a hike at the nature reserve. If you do spot them, be sure to maintain your distance and avoid doing gestures that will unintentionally provoke them.

Malayan Colugo

— From: leehsia_gan

Binomial Name: Galeopterus variegatus

Species Status: Native

Habitats: Forest, terrestrial

The Malayan colugo is perhaps one of my favorite wild animals to spot. This is simply because it’s usually hard to miss it. 

It flies from one tree trunk to the next, hence why it’s sometimes referred to as a flying lemur.

Technically, this animal doesn’t fly—instead, it glides among trees and is arboreal—but still, it’s pretty cool when you see it zipping ahead of you.

In Singapore, these flying lemurs can be found in nature reserves, but it’s also possible to find them in plantations and parkland. So long as there’s a cluster of trees, spotting the Malayan colugo is possible. 

Oriental Small-Clawed Otter

— From: takanobu1231 

Binomial Name: Aonyx cinerea

Species Status: Native

Habitats: Mangroves, mudflats, terrestrial

Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

The oriental small-clawed otter has to be one of the cutest animal species I’ve ever seen, and I’m sure other people will agree with me. This adorable fellow grows up to two feet—and much of that is just the tail—so it’s the smallest otter species in Asia.

Unfortunately, this particular otter species is critically endangered in Singapore. For that reason, protecting their habitats and policing against poaching are the two priorities that the government has implemented to save the species. 

Currently, you can spot small-clawed otters in the mangrove-rich regions of Singapore as well as in the reservoirs of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

Sunda Pangolin

— From: shaun_cjp 

Binomial Name: Manis javanica

Species Status: Native

Habitats: Forest, terrestrial

Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

As a family, pangolins are some of the most heavily poached and exploited animals in the world. Sadly, the Sunda pangolin isn’t an exception. 

Humans typically hunt it for its skin, scales (for medicinal purposes), and meat (for eating). 

And the threat isn’t just limited to humans. Other predators, such as tigers and the clouded leopard, also hunt Sunda pangolins. 

Because of all these threats, this species is now critically endangered, and many conservation efforts have been implemented.

Nature reserves are where Sunda pangolins are usually kept, but sometimes, you might spot them in forests, scrubland, and plantations. I’ve even seen some in rural areas in Bukit Batok, so there are still some of them in the wild.


Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo

— From: kothiala 

Binomial Name: Hierococcyx fugax 

Species Status: Winter Visitor/Passage Migrant

Habitats: Forests

The Malaysian hawk cuckoo, which has other names depending on the location, is a bird you won’t normally see every day in Singapore. This is because it’s a winter visitor, and when it does visit, it usually keeps to itself in forests. 

If you’re lucky, however, you might just spot this hawk cuckoo in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve or the Kranji Reservoir Marshes. Don’t forget to take a picture if you do because there’s a chance you won’t see it again for some time!

Oriental Pied Hornbill

— From: claws.n.wings

Binomial Name: Anthracoceros albirostris 

Species Status: Resident 

Habitats: Forests, terrestrial, parks, and gardens 

The oriental pied hornbill is one of those birds that you just can’t keep your eyes away from. With its large size, black plumage, and pale yellow bill, this bird appears majestic when it’s perching on a tree branch. 

The best part is that this hornbill can be found anywhere that has trees. So, whether you’re hiking deep in the forest or you’re relaxing in a park or garden, you might be able to spot it flying or nesting in a nearby tree!

Cream-Vented Bulbul

— From: fredal927 

Binomial Name: Pycnonotus simplex 

Species Status: Resident Breeder

Habitats: Forests

The cream-vented bulbul is an adorable little bird typically found in the Malay Peninsula. Its natural habitat is moist lowland forests, so you have a high chance of spotting them in any forested area in Singapore. 

Many bird enthusiasts have noted that this bulbul is well-spotted in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, so be sure to head there if you want to see this bird. 

Collared Kingfisher

— From: calestine.kaz.chee 

Binomial Name: Todiramphus chloris

Species Status: Resident

Habitats: Mangroves, parks, gardens, terrestrial

It’s hard not to admire the collared kingfisher. Its head and upper body are a striking turquoise, so when it’s in motion, it becomes a blue blur. What a sight indeed!

To make things better, this bird can be found throughout Singapore. Whether you’re passing by mangroves or casually strolling in parks and gardens, you might be able to spot the collared kingfisher somewhere in the trees. 

The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is also a popular spot for this type of bird, so you might want to try to visit sometime. 

Wandering Whistling Duck

— From: felixwatsonphotography 

Binomial Name: Dendrocygna arcuata 

Species Status: Resident Breeder

Habitats: Freshwater, pond

The wandering whistling duck gets its name from its loud whistling calls and the loud whistling noise their wings produce when it’s flying. 

It’s also known for its long neck and legs, and many people have thought that it looks like a combination of a goose and a duck. 

The wandering whistling duck is present in other regions other than Singapore, such as Australia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Here, the whistling duck can be found in freshwater ponds, but it also resides in flooded grasslands, dams, and deep lagoons.


Reticulated Python

— From: copperhead.reptilia

Binomial Name: Malayopython reticulatus

Species Status: Native

Habitats: Forests, terrestrial

The reticulated python is a native snake in Singapore that can grow to be very large—up to 10 meters! Aside from that, this kind of python is a good climber, and its diet consists of mammals—from small mice to large deer and pigs. 

In other countries in Southeast Asia, reticulated pythons reside in ranges. But in Singapore, you can find them in any forested area, so if you’re hiking in the woods, look out for them (they’re iridescent in sunlight, so it won’t be hard to spot them).

Saltwater Crocodile

— From: crocodile_beers

Binomial Name: Crocodylus porosus

Species Status: Native

Habitats: Saltwater, brackish wetlands, freshwater rivers

Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

Saltwater crocodiles used to be widespread in Singapore, but their numbers have been steadily dwindling to the point that they’re now endangered. The reason for this is that people hunt them to get their hide and meat and to avenge the crocodiles’ victims. 

To save the species from extinction, the government has ordered to capture saltwater crocodiles from estuaries and mangroves and to keep them in crocodile farms to let them breed. 

There are still some sightings of them in the wild, specifically in Sembawang, Changi, and Pasir Ris.

Earless Agamid

— From: yan_wildlife_adventures

Binomial Name: Aphaniotis fusca

Species Status: Native

Habitats: Forests

Conservation Status: Endangered

The earless agamid may be a tiny creature, but it comes with fascinating features. Its body is slender with small scales, an angular head, and long limbs.

Their eyes are striking too. Males have blue irises while females have white ones. 

The natural habitat of earless agamids is the forest, but deforestation has degraded their homes, causing their numbers to go down. So, habitat protection is extremely crucial to help save this species. 

As of right now, you’re likely to find an earless agamid in any of the nature reserves in Singapore. 

Clouded Monitor

— From: varanibae_

Binomial Name: Varanus nebulosus

Species Status: Native

Habitats: Forests

The clouded monitor is a species of monitor lizard that’s native not only to Singapore but also to Burma, Java, Sumatra, Thailand, and West Malaysia. This reptile is known for its narrow head and thick and leathery skin with non-overlapping scales. 

Clouded monitors are excellent climbers, but they can also be found digging up the forest floor to search for prey. 

These reptiles are distributed well throughout Singapore, especially in Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong. That said, I spotted them during my visit to the Botanic Gardens, and I’ve also heard that they can be found in several nature reserves.

Sunbeam Snake 

— From: za_reptiles

Binomial Name: Xenopeltis unicolor

Species Status: Native

Habitats: Forests, parks, gardens

Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of snakes, but if I were to pick a favorite, I’ll have to choose the sunbeam snake. After all, this snake literally shines and becomes iridescent when hit by sunlight. How can I not be in awe of that beauty?

The good news is that this snake is common and widespread in Singapore, so you’ll be able to spot it in forests, parks, and gardens. 

It also doesn’t pose a threat to humans. In fact, some people even have it as a pet. 


Asian Toad

— From: beat_whim 

Binomial Name: Duttaphrynus melanostictus 

Species Status: Native

Habitats: Forests, parks, gardens, terrestrial, urban

The Asian toad is one of the most widespread amphibians in Southeast Asia, so it’s likely that everyone in Singapore has encountered this animal at least once in their life. 

This toad features a robust body, short hind limbs with highly reduced webbing, and warty skin that’s grayish to yellowish brown in color. It’s only active at night and can be found in forests, parks, gardens, and even urban spaces.

Black-Eyed Litter Frog

— From: krakenpet

Binomial Name: Leptobrachium nigrops

Species Status: Native

Habitats: Forests, terrestrial

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

The black-eyed litter frog is probably one of the cutest frogs I’ve ever laid my eyes on. 

I think what makes it so cute to look at is the combination of its bulging black eyes, large head, and short limbs. It looks like it comes straight from an adorable cartoon. 

Unfortunately, this species of frog is considered vulnerable. It’s not as bad as critically endangered but definitely enough to be concerned. 

For that reason, black-eyed litter frogs are confined to nature reserves, specifically Bukit Timah and Central Catchment.

If you do visit either nature reserve, I suggest looking out for them on the forest floor. They tend to be living among leaf litter. 

Malayan Giant Frog

— From: natureadventuressg 

Binomial Name: Limnonectes blythii

Species Status: Native

Habitats: Forest, terrestrial  

As the name suggests, this frog is a large one. It can grow up to 26 cm long and weigh up to one kilogram! 

Additionally, it’s nocturnal and semi-aquatic, and you can most likely find it in evergreen forests, especially along streams with gravel and rocks.

The Malayan giant frog is pretty common in Singapore, but there’s a problem arising regarding their population because people hunt them for consumption and trade. The species is also impacted by habitat loss, which can make things worse.

As of now, the species is safe from endangerment, but nature reserves are watching out for them.

Aquatic Animals

Blue-Barred Parrotfish 

— From: nori_rium 

Binomial Name: Scarus ghobban

Species Status: Resident

The blue-barred parrotfish is a kind of ray-finned fish that’s widespread throughout the Indo-Pacific. Its standout characteristics are its tough, beak-like jaws and blue-green color. 

Since this fish is quite common in Singapore, it’s possible that you might spot it while casually swimming in the sea. It’s probably by a coral, using its strong jaws to feed off the algae there. 

Hawksbill Sea Turtle

— From: yian_chou_

Binomial Name: Eretmochelys imbricata 

Species Status: Resident

Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

The hawksbill sea turtle is the only species left in the genus Eretmochelys, and unfortunately, it’s also considered critically endangered nowadays. Despite that alarming news, this sea turtle is still well-known since it can be found all over the globe.

In Singapore, you can find hawksbill sea turtles swimming in the marinas. Over the years, the number of sightings has increased, so now there are efforts to understand its behaviors and issue a stronger awareness among the public. 

One conservation effort the NParks has done is establish a turtle hatchery at the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park in 2018. Since 2017, over 500 hatchlings have been released, and more nests have been created. 

Tips to Consider When Dealing with Wildlife in Singapore

Tips to Consider When Dealing with Wildlife in Singapore

Being in the presence of a wild animal in Singapore is a memorable experience, but it can also be a dangerous one if you don’t act appropriately. 

If you’re planning to visit a park or zoo to see wild animals, I highly recommend that you follow these tips:

  • Keep your food inside a bag. This is for people planning to hike in parks and nature reserves. The animals here, especially the monkeys, are notorious for grabbing any foodstuff, so be sure to hide yours when passing through.
  • Keep your distance. If you do encounter an animal while hiking, don’t approach it. If you do, it might attack you, which is the last thing you want to happen. Simply admire it from afar. 
  • Follow the rules. Some establishments might ask you not to take photos on a camera with a flash, not bang on the glass walls of an exhibit, and the like. Be sure to heed these instructions to make your experience seamless and safe.