They might look scary, but they usually never bother humans…. We are talking about water monitor lizards here!
Water monitor lizards are almost always found, how surprising, near rivers, lakes, swamps, klongs (canals) and even beaches.
Also in Bangkok you’ll find these prehistoric creatures near lakes in public parks and in and around the many klongs in the city. If you join one of our tours, you certainly have a good chance to spot them.
The monitor lizard is called ‘Tua Ngern Tua Thong’ (‘Animal of silver and gold’) in Thai, because the belief is that they bring fortune to anyone who sees them. But many Thai people call them ‘Hia’ which is a very insulting word for bad and evil things, including bad persons.
The monitor lizard descends from the same family as the largest lizard in the world, the Komodo dragon. However, these monitor lizards are smaller and absolutely less aggressive than their deadly family members.
Monitor lizards can grow longer than 2 meters, weigh over 50 kg and they primarily eat chickens, snakes, fish, rats and birds.
They are not dangerous for human, but if provoked they can defend themselves with their long tail. Furthermore, they have extremely long and strong claws and they can bite. If, in a very rare event, you are bitten, you should immediately seek medical attention. They may have harmful bacteria in their mouth which can cause infections so it’s important to clean the wound.
The photo in this article shows a monitor lizard that tries to break into a home in Samut Prakan.
Book your place on one of our bicycle adventures and meet these scary Bangkok residents!