Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hamsters!

Finally, I convinced my parents to let me keep hamsters! (well I told them I don't care gotta keep them no matter what ;p) I supposed many had experienced keeping these rodents when they are younger but I was the rare few, firstly because I had childhood asthma previously, secondly and more importantly, my mum hate furry creatures, you name it, from hamsters to dogs. My home will be a zoo if otherwise.

Adrian Moh had previously asked whether I wanted some hamsters as his sister's rodents had been breeding too much. I finally got them from him on Valentine’s Day, three brother hamsters as he advise me not the separate them.

hamster
Bought a cage from pet lover's corner, a rather big cage with a small 2nd storey compartment.

I called them as the little devils as they kept me awake the entire night on the first day with their squeaking. I never know they make any sound till now! Those squeaking sounds like those baby shoes that make the squeak when they walk on it.

The 3 brothers are just one month ago and already they very fat. Well, I guess its inevitable as they can only eat and sleep in the cage. Only one was rather small in size, which girl named it as sayang and it looks as it doesn't get along well with its 2 obese brothers. Either it keeps getting bullied by the other 2 or that it always disturbs the 2.

hamster
But then again, they are times when they live in harmony. They are brothers after all.

hamster
However, most of the time the 2 brothers stayed together. "Eat alot" and "sleep alot" are the 2 names I gave them. Can't really differentiate them apart but it doesn't matter, cos they both eat and sleep alot anywayz ;p


Another sleeping posture.

Video of eel eating 8-legs

Very blur, badly taken videos of the eel swallowing the poor octopus at sisters island. But at least you can hear from the background the excitement from Dr Dan and Ria. :D Enjoy.

Swallowing 8-legs

Done with eating

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Trip to Big Sisters

Happy new year! What way to celebrate CNY then to go for another intertidal trip? Personally I hate visiting relatives, luckily got over the agony in the first day ;p

Me and Kok Sheng the amateurs are eager for this trip so we signed up together. First time to Sister's too! Rain was pouring badly; luckily Kok Sheng had a spare poncho with him. I going to buy one before the next trip lao. Now I realized its importance.
 
Sisters Island
At the noisy bumboat

At sister’s Dr Dan brought his students to the exposed lagoon and began teaching his students about the intertidal life together with Ron.

Fish burrow
(Left) A hole made by some fish, which Dr Dan said that it decorate its with pebbles. (Right) An uphole and downhole which is actually U shaped tunnel by a 1m long worm. Gosh, can anyone recall their ID?

Moon snail trailsand collar
Dr Dan spotted a trail which he said was a moon snail trail and Ron scope up the sand with snail inside. I was totally flabbergasted with this 2 =S. And to the right is a sand collar containing the moon snail's egg (hope I din remember wrongly).

Spider couch
This is one of the more amazing finds for me. Finally I saw the spider couch! It has two pretty little eyes, barely visible in this photo. Ron was telling the students how the muscular tail or operculum is used for hopping. But alas it didn’t performed for Dr Dan they all. But just as they left, it started flipping itself over. Haha, its really very adorable.

flower crab
Dr Dan showing his class the flower crab. This guy really knows how to catch crabs! The swimming crabs always look ready to pinch me everytime I approach them. Here Dr Dan was pointing out to the two different set of claws used for.... eh shit, anyone can refresh me again?

sea urchin diadema
A Diadema sp. sea urchin. omg I din know we can find them here! They are algae gazers and scavengers.

giant reef worm eunice
A damn long worm! At first I thought that Eunice was just a name which they affectionately named it after but it was in fact its genus! 

Prof Dan Rittschof
And here, Dr Dan with his green bowl looking for more animals.

Octopus
A small octopus found by Kok Sheng.

blue spotted fantail ray Taeniura lymma
As the nightfalls, we heard that wildfilms had found a blue spotted fan-tailed ray (Taeniura lymma).

Round 7pm, we headed back to the shore for a break and dinner. Delicious curry puffs with some 100 Plus! Can't ask for anything more refreshing. heh

Octopus
The first sight at the night walk. A huge octopus! Wa, this has to be the biggest I have seen so far.

brittle star
A beautifully pattern brittle star. One could easily mistaken its arms for a worm. If you look closely, one of its arms is broken and another one is slowly regenerating out of it. 

mosiac crab
Here Dr Dan subdued another crab. A mosiac crab. It is said to be more posionous than the egg crabs.

Crab stand off
Look what we found. 3 crabs having a meeting?!! Two swimming crabs and a red egg crab.

Fishes fishes and more fishes! Everyone seems to be coming out at night!
pufferfish
A cute little puffer fish all blown up. I still dun understand why its yellow black tail fin is rendered useless and fixed at a curved angle. Or is it just having a spasm?

toadfish
The master of camouflage; the toadfish... 

flathead\
and a flathead

fish playing dead
Now this is one interesting guy. Unlike other fishes which rely on camouflage and speed, it will rather just flip on its side and play dead! Can anyone ID? 

Other fishes like butterfly fish, large halfbeaks, cardinal fish and other big fishes bumping at my booties :D and fishes that jump in the air when we shine our torch over it! What fishes are those!


Spotted by Dr Dan. A beautiful sea anemone.

sponge
A nice sponge with a big osculum.

eel eating octopus
This had to be the sight of the day. An eel eating an octopus!

sea cucumber
A new sea cucumber for me. Pink with red strips.

land hermit crab
Sitting in a coconut husk, a land hermit crab.

Woa, what an amazing day. Totally blown over by what I saw. I also have to get some new equipment for future trips, a bigger container and metal chopsticks. Almost broke kok sheng's wooden one when trying to pry the mosaic crab.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Please help do survey! Legalising cats in HDB.

Hihi, me and my group are doing a survey report in one of my modules (Professional Communications) to understand the opinions of HDB dwellers towards legalising cats in HDB. We chose this topic due to the recent debate on ST and ST forum by cat lovers regarding this issue.

In order to have a non-bias result, we will need to collect as large a sample size as possible, so if possible please help us to spread to your friends and families. I'm not sure if I am being realistic, but if possible our group might send the results to HDB for their consideration. At least it will serve more purpose then just getting its grade for the module.

Click here for the zoomerang survey
(heard that zoomerang results is only visible for 10 days. I will make another link after the 10th day.)

So, hope to get ur support!

Stray cat near NUS

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Praying Mantis

A little brown mantis flew onto my bedroom floor when I was chatting with kok sheng on Msn. Covered it will a plastic container and started snapping shots of it before bringing it downstairs and releasing it and going for a long delayed hair cut. Look so messy my hair! Wish someone can teach me how to style it.

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis


Lost Butterfly

Painted Jezebel
Painted Jezebel

All these city lights,
made me lost my way :(

Eco Field trip #3: Adinandra Belukar

I didn't post my 2nd field trip to Sungei Buloh cos din took that many pictures that time. Well, this is a definitely must post trip, cos it was such an eye opener!

Adinandra belukar, from my practical handout, is basically a secondary forest with degraded soil. Soils are highly acidic and nutrient poor. Our study is done today in the forest along Kent Ridge Road.

We learnt about some of the keystone plants of the Adinandra belukar, like the tiup tiup, simpoh air (I finally know its name!) and tembusu. My TA Lainie was telling us that the fruit bats feed on the fruits of the tiup tiup. Theres bat droppings everywhere!

bat shit
Bat shit

Tempusu (Fagraea fragrans) is probably one of the easier identifiable trees around as its trunk possesses deeply fissured bark. Flowers are fragrant and cream-colored. On the other hand, the tiup tiup tree has branches of alternate leaves with young tip leaves being reddish in color. It also have small, white rounded fruits growing on the branches.

Tempusu Fagraea fragrans
Fissured bark
Tempusu Fagraea fragrans

Tempusu Fagraea fragrans
Alternate leaves of tiup tiup

On the grass patch, I noticed many spider webs. I read about these spiders before somewhere, but somehow it slipped my mind. Anyone know?


And then we started bashing into the forest, down the slope. Must be interesting for most of the girls who have never been to army. Especially for Denise I guess who grab a big tree branch as a walking stick for support. Reminds me of Gandalf in LOTR somehow ;p


A hazardous climb down

We went to search for a suitable transect site to do our study and decided on a nice one with little cobwebs and rather accessible (at least that what I feel). But apparently, there were some dead falling trees around but the group was careful, well they had to be. Chopchop finished everything and we were out just as rain started pouring.

Some stuff Jinghui spotted:

cicada
Some blue berries (anyone can ID it?) and cicada larvae moults. The moult is sitting in my plastic container now.

stabilimenta
Web decorations or stabilimenta taken by jingui. Probably made by the St Andrew's Cross Spiders of the genus Argiope. There are many theories behind it, some say it is used to stablised the web (hence the name stabilimenta), to make the web visible to larger animals to prevent them bumping into the web or even to attract prey by reflecting UV light. From wiki.

Pitcher plants were the surprise of the day, as we saw so many of them around!

pitcher plant
Growing right in the middle of the trail, a healthy looking pitcher plant

pitcher plant
Closeup of the modified drip tips

Nepenthes gracilis
Some more nice photogenic pitchers

Lainie pointed out more tiny pitchers growing on the grass field!
Nepenthes gracilis
Tiny pitchers

A fun-filled and enjoyable day today. As always with the fun-loving denise and kai-qin and the aspiring bryophyte enthusiast jinghui. And of cos my TA who always give us a free rein to explore.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

A Tear for Al Gore

I'm glad I did not skip this to study for my forensic science test tml. Yup, thats the Inconvienent Truth, showing in Science LT28 today by SAVE.

Went with Diana for this show and to tell the truth, we were quite shocked to see so many people inside! The entire LT was fully packed and latecomers even sit on the steps. Its heartening to see so many people aware of this movie and the issues addressed.

Packed Lecture Hall

The movie was amazing. I was so touched by how Al Gore spent so much of his time fighting for this cause, raising awareness about global warming. Man, giving at least 1000 slideshows around US and the world? This is no ordinary feat and of such a noble cause. I shed a tear for him. In fact, there was this lump on my throat all the time when watching the many figures and footages of the resultant of global warming and snippets of his feelings. I wonder how many felt the same way as me.  

The movie ended and I silently applauded to it. And I guessed others felt the same way. Applause resounded and I joined in. 

In the end, it is up to us on how much we can contribute to our environment and saving it. 

And as I was telling Diana, this is one movie which I will encourage piracy. :)

Website of Inconvienent truth

Friday, February 2, 2007

Mosquito?


Is this a mosquito? Can't see its proboscis leh... The reason I asked is also it doesn't behave like a typical mosquito and it just quietly sit there posing for me to get some shots.

Think I have reach some limit to maintaining regular posts on my blog that I decided to take this insect on my bedroom floor. Mmm...Pity it died soon after. Cos my hand fell on it. Opps...

Learnt something new while googling for mosquitoes. The swelling of mosquito bite is actually caused by the allergic reaction towards its anti-coagulant. It is secreted to prevent blood clotting before finishing its meal. The proboscis is also highly serrated (saw-like), so that there are minimal contact points with the skin to reduce nervous stimulation.

Oya, love nature, just not mosquito! =X
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