Monday, December 31, 2012


Order Artiodactyla

This order contains the even-toed ungulates, i.e. herbivores with two or four toes.

In Singapore, there are 4 species - 1 pig and 3 deer.

Wild Pig (Sus scrofa)

When Singapore was developed, the Wild Pig population was decimated, even on Pulau Ubin. Recently, there has been an increase in population, likely from Johor, so much so that this species is now listed as common1. Being a prolific breeder and without natural predators, it is likely to come into conflict with human. It can be found at Pulau Ubin, Pulau Tekong, Western Catchment, Central Catchment, Seletar and Changi, as well as the neighbouring wooded areas.

Wild Pigs feeding at Pulau Ubin ©Tan KH

Wild Pig running away at Pulau Punggol ©Tan KH

Wild Pig at Punggol Grassland ©Tan KH

Sambar (Cervus unicolor)

The Sambar Deer or Sambar was a deer native to Singapore. It was last sighted in the Bukit Timah area in the 1920s2. In the 2000s, they were reintroduced into the Central Catchment area. There are now reportedly 20 of these deer in the wild3. This fact came to light when a sambar was knocked down by a car on SLE on 3 Mar 2010.

The other extinct deer in Singapore is the Indian Muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak).

Sambar in Malaysia ©Ben Lee

Lesser Mousedeer (Tragulus kancil)

The Lesser Mousedeer is the smallest of the mousedeer. They can still be found at Bukit Timah and Central Catchment.

Lesser Mousedeer at Lower Peirce ©Con Foley

There has been some controversy regarding the identity of the following mousedeer at Lower Peirce4.

Lesser Mousedeer at Peirce Area ©Ben Lee

Greater Mousedeer (Tragulus napu)

The Greater Mousedeer is larger than the Lesser Mousedeer. It was thought to be extirpated in Singapore until it was rediscovered on Pulau Ubin in 20095. It has also been reintroduced to the Central Catchment. It can be distinguished from the Lesser Mousedeer by the five white stripes on the chest (compared to three on the Lesser Mousedeer).


1. Status of Eurasian Wild Pig in Singapore 2010
2. Singapore's protected animals and birds
3. Rare deer knocked down by car on SLE
4. The identity of a mousedeer (Mammalia: Artiodactyla: Tragulidae) observed at Lower Peirce Forest, Singapore
5. Rediscovery of Greater Mousedeer, Tragulus napu (Mammalia: Artiodactyla: Tragulidae) in Pulau Ubin, Singapore

Order Perissodactyla

This order contains the odd-toed ungulates, i.e. herbivores with one or three toes, although tapirs have four toes on their fore feet.

In Singapore, there is 1 species - Malayan Tapir.

Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus )

This is a distinctive black-and-white mammal. It is a very rare visitor from the Johor forests in Malaysia to Singapore, last seen on Pulau Ubin and Changi6.

Captive Malayan Tapirs in the Zoo ©Tan KH


6. Rare sighting of endangered Malayan tapir at Changi


  1. Might come as surprising but I had an incredibly fortunate experience to witness a group of these sambar deer just 3 to 4 weeks ago. Having gone out for a midnight cycle on my electric bike, I was returning to Ang Mo Kio from Sungei Kadut at or about 2.40 am. I passed by a family of wild boar shuttling through the underbrush along the Mandai Park Connector and spotted a couple of fishermen by the reservoir. Up ahead, I saw huge creatures, which resembled a deer species of some sort. I directed my bike's headlamp towards the group of 4 or 5 animals and I was pleasantly shocked. These were huge deer, creatures I had the failure test inkling of existing in the rapidly decreasing wild landscape of our country. I saw at least 3 doe and one large male with a set of magnificent antlers on him.

    It was miraculous, to say the least, considering just how rare the population of wild sambar deer is in Singapore.

    It was a sight I will not soon forget.

  2. Amazing story!

    I, also, was very fortunate to cross-paths with the majestic Sambar deer. Last night as i rounded a bend on old upper thomson road, there in front of me stood a massive antlered male.

    It trotted off into the bush quickly.

    Amazing to see!