Monday 18 June 2007

Crabby Search

Friday's (15.6.2007) field trip was meant for Daniel and his FYP. Despite the heavy rain in the late morning, Mr. Siva, Mr. Yeo, Daniel, and I hopped onto a mini lorry and began our search for fresh water crabs. We dropped off at Dr Ivan’s house first. I was a little puzzled initially as to why we had gone to someone’s house to look for crabs. I thought we may be engaging Dr Ivan’s help on the topic and perhaps moving on to some other place for the search. Little did I know that there is a forest hidden behind Dr Ivan’s house, and that is the forest where we would carry out our search!

The stream where we search for fresh water crabs; it’s long and rocky.

Dr Ivan owned part of the forest while the rest of it belongs to the army. Mr. Siva and Daniel began their search along the stream in the same direction and I followed them. I had no idea how different the fresh water crabs would be like, in terms of size and appearance, as compared to those commonly seen in the market. I was only told briefly to look underneath the rocks.

Soon, Daniel claimed that he had found one tiny crab in a dark moist hole beside the stream. In my excitement, I rushed up to take a look, and alas, I slipped and fell into the stream. Argh! Nevertheless, I managed to catch a glimpse of the mini crab before it scurried away. It was really minute, about 5mm, similar to a household spider. I guessed it must be a baby crab then (maybe it is really a spider?).

Being a novice, my search was rather unsuccessful. Feeling a little dismay, I decided to head back to the starting point, partly because the path is getting steeper and my lower leg was hurting from the slip previously. On my way back, I stopped by the hole where Daniel found the tiny crab. This time round, lady luck was on my side, I saw a much bigger crab (I’m quite sure it was a crab and not a spider). But before I could pull out my camera and snap a few shots, it scurried away and disappeared before my eyes. *cries* But to all curious readers who happened to be as ignorant as me, the following pictures may give you an idea on how they looked like:

Top view: Two crabs in a drinking glass. The big one is about 5cm while the small one is about 3cm. The small crab is really active; crawling around restlessly. I guessed it was a little traumatized from being trapped. The big one is rather sedentary. Perhaps there wasn’t much space for it to move too.

Front view of the crabs.

These two crabs were caught by Mr. Yeo. I really wondered how he could spot them as they camouflaged really well. The amazing part is, he found the two crabs within minutes! He’s good, isn’t he! In total, we managed to find about ten to fifthteen crabs in Dr Ivan’s forest in less than two hours.

After biding farewell to Dr Ivan and his family, we continued our search for freshwater crabs along a drain next to Meralodge. Mr. Siva commented that the stream closer to the forest was dry and therefore our search was confined to just a distance away from the drain. There was hardly any crab. Daniel managed to find one juvenile crab, a far cry from the fifty or more that populated the area in the past. The number of fresh water crabs decreases drastically due to pollution such as insecticides and oil. In fact we spotted oil on the soil while we were heading back to the main drain.

All in all, the trip is really an eye opener for an urban kid like me. I have never embarked on such a search before; the closest is Bukit Timah or Pulau Ubin guided trail. *so embarrassing* Moreover, I have a better idea on where to look for fresh water crabs now. Below is a rough guide to the perfect hideouts of the fresh water crabs:

  1. Look for holes (mini caves) along the stream, best if it is dark and moist.
  2. Alternatively, look for moist leaf litter. Be bold enough to rummage through them, though you are most likely to find wriggly worms beneath it.
  3. Look under the rocks. But remember to place the rock back to its original position.


Sivasothi said...

Oooh, very nice post! BTW Ivan mentioned a filmmaker and it might have been Tan Pin Pin; see the top trailer here.

Vac said...

Thanks Siva and Rodrigo! =D

A rough translation of the comments rodrigo gave from

Hello, I found your blog by the google is well interesting I liked that post. When it will give gives a passed by my blog, is about undershirts personalized, sample I pass to pace as create an undershirt personalized well way. To more.

Sivasothi said...

Heh-heh, its spam. Could actually figure that out before translation! Will show you how in the museum, remember to ask me!