When you’re visiting Thailand for the first time or South East Asia in general, you most likely are not aware of which animals should you expect all around. In some cases it will come a bit of surprise to see some weird animal such as Monitor Lizard crossing the street or walking by near you. In those cases, it’s good to know what to expect from them.
Should you run away or just keep walking?
I had such a situation on the first day of my arrival in Bangkok. I was chilling on the terrace in my hotel overlooking the city canal.
Sides of the canal were covered with banana and palm trees, brown wooden buildings and little street food stalls. Typically nice Asian view.
First meeting with a Monitor Lizard
I watched big fish jumping in and out of the water, some furry animal that can be described as a “squirrel & beaver love child” swimming across the canal.
Then suddenly something freaked me out big time. I noticed an average-sized alligator crossing the canal and instantly thought – how will I walk the streets now, knowing that there are alligators living by my hotel terrace?!?
I wouldn’t want to walk in the dark, meet one coming towards me and then having to run in circles to escape him. It’s too hot to run in Bangkok!
Later I googled this situation and it turned out that I was just exaggerating it all in my head.
It wasn’t an alligator. That was an animal called a Monitor Lizard!
It’s a type of huge lizard that looks basically like a dinosaur. There are more than 70 different species of these animals. Some live on the ground, some in the water. They vary in sizes from small mouse to an elephant.
My newly met friend was approximately 2 meters long water lizard that lived in our canal area with 2 other friends, as I learned later. These lizards usually live in the jungle. However, in Thailand you can also spot them inhabited areas such as the centre of Bangkok.
Can Monitor Lizards attack people?
They usually are pretty peaceful and as most animals are not looking for contact with humans. Monitor Lizards normally don’t attack humans unless they feel endangered from their presence.
They sometimes like to steal chicken and small livestock from farmers or feed of fish and crocodile eggs. They are very fast swimmers so they can easily steal food or eggs from other sea creatures and run away.
And they definitely swim much faster than you!
Monitor Lizards spotting
More Monitor Lizards can be spotted on Thai islands, especially Koh Samui from where I’m writing right now. We’ve seen already 2 of them here and apparently are pretty lucky.
Turns out that lizard spotting is an existing attraction over here in Thailand, also in other parts of South East Asia and Africa.
So next time when you are in Thailand, don’t freak out if you see a dinosaur-like animal approaching you. Just appreciate it’s uniqueness and let him walk away.
Enjoy the magnificent wildlife of Thailand and check out our other Thailand adventures here.