Category Archives: geckos & snakes

Two Snakes in One Day!

Can you believe it??!! I saw TWO snakes in ONE day!! And I didn’t have a heart attack!!!

Well, maybe my heart was pounding a bit. Okay, I was terrified.

Here’s the story: I was with my Singapore BFF Jacki and I were off on one of our weekly adventures. (Jacki is a Philly girl and has the exact same personality as me, except she swears more.) Each week we take a day to try something new in Singapore, and each time we find ourselves in some type of unforgettable situation.

Last week we met at Starbucks, decided to walk to the Peranakan Museum, but we got lost, we were so busy chatting & giggling, the we walked the wrong direction without realizing it for about 30 minutes, and ended up having to take a taxi to the museum. Neither of us knew anything about this place, all I knew was that I loved their pottery. So, we took a guided tour of the place, which was fascinating.

I found this sign interesting, their expectations of the girls. Practically from the day the girls are born, they are taught how to be good wives, and their marriages were planned & arranged starting when they were about 8 years old, with the ceremony when they are about 15 or 16 years old.

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This is a photo of a small part of a large tablecloth that was displayed under glass. It was absolutely gorgeous. I have always enjoyed crafting … embroidery when I was a young girl, making garden art, and recently, I have become obsessed with crocheting. But this beadwork was nothing like I have ever seen or can imagine someone making!! This picture doesn’t do it justice.

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“A million glass beads make up this tablecloth, and is the largest example of Peranakan beadwork known. It’s original design shows various European and South American birds and flowers, with only a few Asian species. Parrots and macaws stand on branches with butterflies and dragonflies hovering nearby. The tropical hibiscus and pineapple can be seen along with the many European flowers. The combination of pink and yellow on a turquoise background is characteristic of Penang Peranakan beadwork. During the 12-day Peranakan wedding, the family would decorate the table with prized pieces of silver and porcelain, as well as gifts and, of course, food.”

There were displays of their beautiful pottery, which is known for the pastel colors, painted on the inside and outside of all the pieces.

Now, flash forward to this week: Jacki and I decided to check out a local pottery place, where they sell the Peranakan pottery. This stuff is gorgeous, and we both hoped to pick up a few pieces as souvenirs.

This is where we saw the snakes. Granted, this place is on the edge of Singapore, and there is lots of green space (jungles). In fact, there is a sign nearby that explains what to do if you see a snake, or a wild boar (yes, there are wild boars here!).

http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/environment/story/5-things-about-wild-boars-singapore-20140729

But never actually thought I would encounter a snake, let alone TWO in one day!!

After Jacki carefully parked her car (she’s not a very good parker, not nearly as skilled as me) and we were walking through the lot, sure enough, my hawk eyes spotted a snake slithering across the gravel road we were walking on. After nearly hyperventilating from shock, and searching frantically for my phone so I could take a pic, we realized that the nearly 2 foot long snake was in a hurry, and off it went under some thick greenery where it disappeared from sight.

So exciting!! We continued on into the outdoor pottery store, where we giggled and laughed about finally seeing a snake, still a bit nervous on edge. I mean, this is an open air store with stacks and stacks of large crocks laying around. There could be more snakes anywhere. Bigger snakes. Maybe huge snakes who were not in a hurry. And were hungry.

Well, we quickly forgot about the snakes, as we were happily hunting for some good finds. Here are some photos of the Peranakan pottery:

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Anyhow, they next thing I knew another customer was pointing to a basket on the floor, about 4 feet from where I was standing, and sure enough, there was a snake in it!! It was quickly swished out of the basket and away from me and the other customers. I was nearly breathless with shock, hanging onto Jacki, who was equally traumatized.

No, I didn’t get a picture of that snake either.

And there you go, two snakes in one day!! Last night I was telling this story to my friend, Uncle Lim, a local Singaporean, who insisted that seeing two snakes in one day is good luck. I think what he means is

“if you see two snakes in one day and live to tell about it, then you are lucky”.

http://www.peranakanmuseum.org.sg/home/home.html
http://thowkwangclayartists.wordpress.com
http://www.themarthablog.com/2010/07/visiting-a-dragon-in-singapore.html

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Things you didn’t know about pythons in Singapore

Okay, ever since the python in the pool incident, I am freakishly hyper-focused on pythons in Singapore.  So I did some digging, and here’s some information about them, this is my list of things you probably didn’t know about pythons in Singapore.

**   Back when there was more ‘wild’ space in Singapore, snakes were more common.  Enterprising snake-catchers would sell their goods for $50 a piece.  The reticulated python is the world’s longest snake, even longer than the giant anaconda.

**  There is a reported incident back in 1965 of a python that attacked and tried to swallow a 10 year old girl.  That was a 20 foot snake in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.  Yes, I have been here and hiked, but only saw monkeys.  Will I go back?  Probably not.

https://blinkmanbuzz.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/monkeys-galore/

 ** Back in the early 80′s there was a man from Chinatown who would catch pythons, and then serve freshly killed python meat his restaurant customers.  They say it has a lot of bones and does NOT taste like chicken.

**   People in Chinatown used to worship a female python named Soon Teck, who reportedly laid over 60 eggs on the 9th day of the Lunar New in 1985

**   A nearly 20 foot monster, twice the length of the Toa Payoh swimmer, was caught in Lorong Marzuki in 1986, an area fondly known as “Pythons Place”.  Currently there are quite a few people living in Toa Payah who think the snakes are breeding in their area of Singapore.

**  In 1990, a customer went to get cash out of an ATM Machine, and instead had a small python that came slithering out.  This was also in Toa Payoh … same place where the snake was in the pool two weeks ago.  Seeing a warning here?  Beware of snakes when in the Toa Payoh area of Singapore.

**  Snakes have been found in the oddest places.   It’s true, here in Singapore some come up through the toilet bowls. So don’t ever flush dead fish or hamsters,  down into the sewers.  Your dead pet becomes their food.  This article was posted on May 8th, lady bit by python that came up through her toilet!

http://singaporeseen.stomp.com.sg/singaporeseen/this-urban-jungle/bathroom-horror-python-slithers-out-of-toilet-to-bite-woman-at-sims-ave

** Some have been found in the hood of cars, curled up and keeping warm by the engines.   Some come right into the house when you open a window!

http://singaporeseen.stomp.com.sg/singaporeseen/this-urban-jungle/huge-python-slithering-up-kitchen-cabinet-gives-household-early-morning-shock

 

** In the last 9 months, since living in Singapore, I have met 3 people who have had close encounters with snakes.  One slithered out of her air conditioning unit that was on the ceiling in her kitchen, another had one fall out a tree into her baby stroller,  and the third had one come out her water drain on the floor and grab at her broom when she was sweeping.

**  If you find a snake and you hire a pest-control team to remove it, it will cost you up to $600.

**  Snakes weren’t so tenderly microchipped and escorted back into the wild in the past. They were bashed to death by hockey sticks, decapitated by axis, or shot by the police.   Today you can call ACRES to have the professionals catch your animal visitors.

http://www.acres.org.sg

ACRES Office (general enquiries): Tel: +65 6892 9821
ACRES Wildlife Crime Hotline (24-hour): Tel: +65 9783 7782
ACRES Wildlife Rescue Hotline (24-hour): Tel: +65 9783 7782
Fax us: + 65 6892 9721

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And this my friends, is the last time I shall post about snakes.  Unless I have my own snake encounter ….

 

Python in the pool

Yup, you read it right!  A very long reticulated python slithered into the competition pool!   This is NOT the pool where my kids regularly practice, but they HAVE competed in this pool, on two different occasions.

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No, I did NOT take these pictures!  I did NOT see this snake in person.  But, seeing these pictures have been cause enough to have nightmares several nights in a row.  No kidding.  This terrifies me.  But you can see from the photos, two of which I got from Instagram, a social networking site, that the kids here don’t seem to be too nervous around these creatures!

Here is the article I found on about this exciting event:

http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/pythons-singapore-what-you-should-know-about-these-snake

 

One Pesky Gecko

Oh, there is a smart little gecko living under my refrigerator.  And this little lizard is having a load of fun tormenting my kitties.

Jazz & Jayda sit in the kitchen and meow and carry on, until I cannot take it any longer.   I pull the fridge out, and then both kitties immediately try to squeeze back near the wall, crouching down real low and peering under the fridge.  I look and don’t see anything, and I push the fridge back into place.  The cats continue to carry on, so I move the giant appliance again, and next thing I know, I see a little pesky gecko run out from underneath and straight to the door leading outside.

The cats spend hours either peering underneath the crack of the door to the outside (which, to my dismay, is big enough for any type of critter to slither in, crawl in, creep in, fly into my house) or they are crazy trying to get under the fridge.

Every single night this pesky little gecko plays this game with Jazz & Jayda.    We’ve all heard of  “cat and mouse” right?   but “Cats & gecko?”   All night long the cats are trying to get this little lizard, and then they sleep all day long.  Will it ever end??  Will Jazz & Jayda be constantly teased by this pesky gecko, and I awaked to move appliances during the darkest part of the night?    Oh you pesky gecko, if the cats don’t get you, I will!!!

 

 

Green whip snake

Photo credit to Scott Gifford. He snapped this photo of a lovely green whip snake at Dragon Kiln Pottery. He was especially keen to show me this pic because he knew I was planning to visit this historic kiln the next day.

I was on the look out for this neon fellow, being especially careful when picking up or looking into pottery.

Thankfully I never laid eyes on it, because Scott says he’s mildly venomous. Mercy mercy!!

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Critters

You might call them critters, bugs, insects, snakes.  I call them terrifying.   Some of them are straight out of a horror movie.

Oh, if you ask one person,   you’ll be told that no, there are no snakes here.  The next person you ask will tell you there are.  Who to believe?  Well, I asked the guards at our condo gate, Mel and Lim.  And they told me that just a month ago one of my neighbors found a small spitting cobra in their drain that was either outside their condo or in the drain inside their condo . I pray they were referring to the “trenches” as I named them, the water canals, outside the condos.    (each bathroom, and the kitchens here have drains in the floors, so that when cleaning,  you can dump a bucket of hot soapy water right on the floor and then squeegee it right down the drain.  it’s very practical and very convenient, until there is a spitting cobra in it.)

 

What???!!!!  A spitting cobra!?!!

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Then I ask another, and they tell me that a lady recently died from one of these “critters”, and right near our home too, within a mile.  She was found dead in the morning, and they knew it was from a spitting cobra, because her skin turned blue.

So I ask one more person, and they tell a story about their dog getting spit in the eyes on two different occasions.  (Is it possible to survive that?  more than once?)

I decide to quit asking about spitting cobras.  Then my neighbor Scott sends me a picture of a very slim but very long lime green snake weaving it’s way along the tree branches.  He says it was like a long piece of yarn up there.  Oh great, now I’m afraid of walking under the trees.

Then there are the stories about the spiders that are “as big as your hand lah”  (Singaporeans end every sentence with a “Lah” … it’s Singlish, and it’s fabulous)  As big as my hand???   I haven’t seen one of those yet.   Thank goodness!

But I have seen cockroaches that would stop you in your tracks.  One was at Ikea,  (of course)  and the other, ahem, right in my living room, making its way casually across the room, headed to unknown destination, I pray not my bedroom.    Once I calmed down, I kicked outside the door, where it landed upside down, and later died.  I swept it up later, feeling very triumphant.  However, all night long I felt the creepy crawlies.

I believe that cockroach critter was brought into my house  by my boys.  They were playing tennis, rather, they were in a heated game of spike-the-yellow-ball-at-each-other-as-hard-as-you-can, and many of the tennis balls were landing outside of the tennis court enclosure.  So Shane and I went around the outside of the gate, into the raw jungle to retrieve the balls, and there were about 40 up there, so of course we got them all.  It was very very stupid of us … first because clearly we were the only ones who ever thought of getting the balls, some of them were obviously up there a long long time, hence the cockroach that was probably living on one of them and it hitched a ride right into my home.  Also, for the love of Mike, there were probably spitting cobras and hand-sized spiders right there watching us, ready to spit, bite,  and kill us at any moment.  Anyhow, I was told that there are thousands of cockroaches here.

Yup, I asked around about the cockroaches.  “They were here way before you, you cannot get rid of them.  Don’t eat chips on couch lah”

Um, how did they know I eat chips on my couch???   Supposedly some people have cockroaches in their cars even, because they eat in the car, drop crumbs, and then the critters move in.  Gives me the shivers.

Back to the critters … there are also monitor lizards.   I heard about them, and was told they move real fast, so get a good look before they take off.  Well, one day Trent and I got ambitious and decided to jog through the Singapore Botanical Gardens (along a paved path, of course.  you really think I’m gonna explore the jungle?  and up ahead I see what looks to me like a giant alligator on the path.  An alligator?

I nervously look around,  how am I gonna pass this thing?  I’ll be forced to go around it, into the grassy cockroach area, or I’ll have to wait it out.  No one is around.  Trent is off in the other direction, and he has his earbuds on, so even if I scream, he won’t hear me.  As I get closer, I realize that it’s a monitor lizard!!!  How exciting!  So I am thinking, look at it quick before it takes off, right?  Well, this one doesn’t go anywhere.  It just sits there.  And as I get closer, it doesn’t looks so scary to me any more.  So I get closer.  And closer.  And I take a few pictures.  And then later my friend Kathy tells me that they are very dangerous, and what was I thinking??   They have terrible bacteria in their saliva that causes deadly infections, and powerful legs with long claws.   I felt incredibly brave when I found Trent and showed him my pictures.

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Back to the critters.  Monkeys.  I have only seen the one in our condo pool.  I have a friend on facebook who posted that she had one come right into her house (she’s one who leaves the air con off and the windows open).    She said she uses a water gun to get the monkeys out of her house.

There is a white macaw that lives near our condo, and every once in a while I will see it, along with some other really beautiful solid yellow birds.  Other birds I have seen are black birds and  pigeon-type birds, and while the guards told us that there is a fat bluebird that sits on a branch below the kids bedrooms at night, we have only seen it in the dark.  (yes, Trent and I walked back there every night for a week trying to see that bluebird.  When we would get close, it would fly away.  We’d say, okay, remember, it’s THAT branch.  The next night we would go back, but forget which branch it was, and lose all chance of creeping up on the bird. )

There is a trendy area here called “Dempsey Hill” and they have some macaws with clipped wings.  They are fascinating to see, as they look exactly like the Fruit Loop bird, and there are about 2 dozen of them.  Some of them talk even!!  These two pictures don’t do it justice, as I only had my iPhone to snap pictures.  I never expected to see such a sight when we went there.

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There are some squirrels here, but not many.  And at night the snails come out.  These are big, hard-shelled snails though, and are quite interesting.

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Mosquitos.  Now, coming from the upper midwest, where the mosquito is the Minnesota state bird, we are used to mosquitos.  I was told prior to coming to Singapore to bring lots of “mozzie spray”.  So I did, and guess what, I haven’t used any at all!!!  Oh there are mosquitos here, and lots of them.  But, they know how to manage the mozzies here.  “we fog lah”.    Look for an upcoming post on this lah.

Lastly, there are little geckos everywhere, like the kind you see in Florida.  They are a pain though, because if they come into the house, while they eat the bugs, they also poop all over the walls.   Still trying to decide which is worse … bugs in the house or geckos in the house?   As long as it’s not a monkey, right?  Getting my squirt gun ready just in case!!!!

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