step on the sand bubbler crab!
Sand bubbler crabs make a good 'first station' to sensitise
visitors to the fact that every inch of the shore is alive.
It's also a good activity to do if the tide is too high to go out
and you need to amuse the visitors on the high shore for a while
Observing sand bubblers
are these sand balls? No it's not shit, it's processed
made the sand balls? "Stay very still and you will
see some interesting animals on the sand. They are very small
and very sensitive to your footsteps. If you wave your arms around
they will think you are a bird and will hide. Pretend you are
a tree and they will come out." This will make visitors get
used to not stomping around. To be still and look carefully for
small things that will only come out when there is no disturbance.
If it's taking a while for the crabs to come out "While we
wait, let's look around us and I'll tell you about some of the
special ecosystems we can see around us. Meanwhile DON'T MOVE!"
sand balls being made:
"Can you see it feeding?" "Did you see one spit
out a sand ball?" "Why do you think there are little
'lanes' among the heaps of sand balls?"
Sand is Alive!
"These tiny crabs are all over the place. You can see some
near your feet too! See!!! Every inch of of the shore is alive with
creatures. Some of them are small and buried in the sand. Every
step we take on will most definitely squash something."
"We have designated a trail on the shore. It is a death zone.
Just like any nature park in Singapore. At Sungei Buloh or Bukit
Timah, we don't walk anywhere we want to but have to stick to a
trail. Otherwise, a larger and larger area will become 'botak' (bald)
as footsteps kill off small plants and animals.
"To minimise this death zone, please stay close to me and try
to stay in a single file."
If you are not the first group "Follow the trail made by the
group in front. Then you don't kill things that they haven't already
sand bubblers: These crabs are found on clean bare sand
near the midwater mark. They are only active in daylight.
Do NOT pick up sand bubblers Visitors will do as we do and
not as we say. In any case, if we catch them and put them down
far away from their burrow, they will be stressed and may not
be able to find protection and then die.
Do NOT dig up sand bubblers either. This is destructive
to the habitat, and encourages visitors to dig up everything
they want to see. Instead, encourage them to be patient and
wait for animals to come out and go about their normal business.