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Plants and Animals

Plants and Animals


Bukit Timah Nature Reserve., SingaporeBukit Timah Nature Reserve., SingaporePhoto: Jeffchat1 in the public domain

Singapore used to be completely covered with tropical rainforest and was very swampy. Little is left of that now. Today, the rainforest is only found in a reserve like Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. In total, Singapore still has approximately 300 ha of rainforest. The rest of the forests, about 1800 ha, have been planted. The tropical rainforest consists mainly of tropical hardwood trees such as seraya and merantis that can grow up to 40 meters high. Many other plants (epiphytes) grow on these trees, such as the stag horn fern. Singapore has approximately 500 ha of mangrove forests, especially in the north.

Vanda Miss Joaquin, Singapore's National FlowerVanda Miss Joaquin, Singapore's National FlowerPhoto: Llamg CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Various types of grasses, cyper grass and creepers grow along the coast in the sandy areas. Inland, coconut palms, casuarina's, pandanus, pong pong and the yellow-flowered hibiscus grow. About 200 plants grow in urban areas, of which only about 20% are indigenous. The vegetation in parks, gardens and along the road is usually not indigenous. For example, the frangipani comes from Mexico, the caesalpinia from the West Indies and the lantana and bougainvillea from South America. Along the roads we also find angsana and jambulaut. In Singapore we also find many aquatic plants such as waterweed and bladderwort. Singapore's national flower is the Vanda 'Miss Joaquim'.


Flying lemur SingaporeFlying lemur SingaporePhoto: John Mason (CC BY 2.0) no changes made

Most of the animals now found in Singapore are in fact “obliged” to live in the forests that remain. Vertebrates that live high in the trees include the flying lemur, two squirrels, the long-tailed macaque, and the flying lizard. Shrews, rats, snakes and three species of frogs live on the ground and among the bushes. Singapore has several bat species such as the small long-tongued bat, the cave bat, the small-headed bamboo bat and the naked bat. The little mouse deer and the scaly anteater are rarely seen. The national animals of Singapore are the lion (Singa Pura = city of the lion) and the Malay tiger.

Malayan Tigers SingaporeMalayan Tigers SingaporePhoto: Malcolm CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Singapore has about 335 species of birds, 215 of which are native; the rest are hibernators. Of the 215 native species, 100 are fairly common and 52 are threatened with extinction. In 1995 9 more species of birds were spotted that had never been seen before.

The most common hibernators are the golden Pacific plover and the purple starling. The most common native birds are the Javan myna and the common tern. Occasionally the endangered Chinese egret and the pied hornbill can be seen. The national bird of Singapore is the Crimson sunbird.

Crimson sunbird is the national bird of SingaporeCrimson sunbird is the national bird of SingaporePhoto: Yathin S K CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Life in the streams, ponds and water reservoirs is dominated by tadpoles, prawns, water bugs and damselflies. Mussels, barnacles, snails, crabs and lobsters live in the mangrove swamps and other brackish water. A little further out to sea we find a very colorful underwater world with sea urchins, coral, anemones, clown fish, occasionally poisonous scorpion fish and stonefish. 150 species of coral are found on the reefs off the coast of Singapore.


Beliƫn, H. / Maleisiƫ : Singapore

Hellander, P. / Singapore
Lonely Planet,

Oon, H. / Singapore
Van Reemst

Ministry of Information and the Arts

Wee, J. / Singapore
Chelsea House Publishers

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated June 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info