Malayan Water Monitor
The Malyan water monitor can reach lengths of 3 meters, making it one of the largest lizard species on the planet (closely related to the komodo dragon. This semi-aquatic monitor lives in a wide range of habitats throughout Southeast Asia, and enjoys a varied diet that includes fish, crabs, eels, rodents, birds, and small reptiles. The Malayan water monitor is known for 'open pursuit' hunting instead of stalking their prey. They are surprisingly fast runners and swimmers that can travel in freshwater and saltwater for long distances and remain underwater for up to 30 minutes.
Malayan Water Monitors are venomous, though their venom is relatively weak. Far more dangerous is the growth of over 50 bacterial strains in their mouths, which can cause serious infections. While many consider monitors dangerous to humans, there are few recorded incidences and even fewer deaths. They best advice is to never provoke or approach a monitor lizard in the wild. Instead, just enjoy from afar.
Singapore has several native turtle species, including the Asian softshell turtle, Malayan box terrapin, and the spiny terrapin. These species can be found within Singapore Botanical Gardens alongside several invasive species. It seems the most prolific species in the gardens is the red-eared slider, which comes as little surprise since they are listed as one of the top 100 invasive species in the world.
The red-eared slider originates from the southeastern United States, but it's popularity as a pet turtle has seen it spread worldwide. Its relatively large size and low maturity age give it an advantage over native species in many locations, including Singapore. I'm not sure I saw any other species of turtle during my visits to the gardens, but I did see several red-eared sliders catching their breath on the water lilies inside Symphony Lake (pictured top right) and dozens swimming about in Swan Lake (picture bottom right).
They couldn't call it Swan Lake without these! The mute swans at the gardens were imported from Amsterdam, and are a commonly used ornamental species worldwide. Indigenous to Europe, there are now wild populations throughout North America, Africa, and Asia. The mute swan is one of the largest flying birds and can grow upwards of 15 kilograms and 170 centimeters in length with a 240-centimeter wingspan.