2020’s Top Hits: Singapore Wildlife Edition

Rebecca Campbell/Unsplash
Rebecca Campbell/Unsplash

As 2020 draws to a close, we’re all looking back at some of our biggest hits in the past year. This year has undoubtedly been unprecedented, with the COVID-19 pandemic completely upending the plans and expectations of individuals across the globe. Still, the animal kingdom has remained steadfast in their antics this year, and it’s only right that we give them credit where credit is due.

So without further ado, here are the top hits of Singapore’s very own wildlife in 2020!

The Bold

Dusan Veverkolog/Unsplash

Wild boar steals curry puff

Fortune does indeed favour the bold, as this wild boar found both food and fame when it robbed a poor girl of her bag of curry puffs over at Pulau Ubin.

Luckily for the girl, the boar was just hungry and not aggressive, or the situation might have turned ugly pretty quickly, as it did when this woman was attacked by a wild boar in Sungei Api Api Park.

Wild boars are a common sight here in Singapore, and are generally non-aggressive unless threatened. If you do happen to see a wild boar, avoid eye contact and keep a distance from it. Do also avoid bringing food or ensure that any food items are not visible and kept properly if you are in an area where wild boar sightings are common.

David Clode/Unsplash

Curious snake at Singapore Zoo

A paradise tree snake slithers its way into fame, beating out other animals in the Singapore Zoo when it slithered up a wheelchair, evicting the existing occupant and claiming its spot on the handlebars.

It might not have been the up close and personal experience the zoo-goers were expecting, but the snake sure looked like it had a good time.

The Bizarre

Mark Stoop/Unsplash

Durian-faced bird

If any bird deserved the title of Singapore’s national bird, it’s definitely this one! This masked lapwing, more colloquially known as the ‘durian-faced bird’ was spotted enjoying the peace and quiet at Changi Golf Course in November this year.

With a face that resembles the pungent flesh of Singaporeans’ most loved (and hated) fruit, the bird definitely got its fair share of attention as netizens were fascinated by the unique bird.

Louis Mornaud/Unsplash

Pangolin saved from…ants?

In what could be a misguided attempt of saving an animal, a man was fined S$5,000 for displacing a live Sunda Pangolin from Upper Seletar Reservoir to Lower Pierce Reservoir.

When questioned, his supposed reason for removing the pangolin was that there were too many ants in the area and he was doing it for the pangolin’s safety, although as the prosecutor rightly pointed out, pangolins feed on ants.

The Heartwarming

Otter cools off on cooling off day

This otter enjoying a blissful nap on cooling off day was surely how most Singaporeans felt after the hectic campaigning during election season earlier this year!

We’re not sure about you, but an otter enjoying a nap in the middle of a bird’s nest fern definitely made us go “aww”.

New otter family seeks permanent home


With less people roaming the streets during the Circuit Breaker period, the otters have taken over as a group of young otters endearingly known as the “Zouk family” sought a new home after outgrowing their nursery at Singapore Botanic Gardens.

The Zouk otters had been seen wandering the streets and even paying a visit to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital during the Circuit Breaker period, bringing smiles to otter fans nationwide.

The Hopeful

Jeremy Wermeille/Unsplash

Wild dolphin sightings

It seems that wildlife continues to thrive in metropolitan Singapore as numerous sightings of wild dolphins made the news this year!

From Lazarus Island to Labrador Jetty, these sightings are definitely a hopeful sign for the future of biodiversity in our waters.

Dennis N. Chan/Herpetological Society of Singapore/Facebook

Rare Selangor Mud Snake 

A rare Selangor Mud Snake was rediscovered in Singapore in September this year!

The last time a Selangor Mud Snake had been spotted in Singapore was over a century ago, back in 1914. This discovery changes the snake’s status here from “indeterminate” to “extant”.

With multiple species of animals being re-discovered (or discovered) in Singapore every year, it’s no doubt a good sign that even as we continue to develop our cities, the wildlife in our garden city is still doing well.

Onward to 2021


It’s been an eventful year indeed with the COVID-19 pandemic raging on, but these wildlife sightings have definitely lightened up the mood of the past year. Even as we enter 2021, let’s remember to be good stewards of the environment, and continue to provide a conducive home to the animals that we share this land with.


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