Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Water Monitor

One of the "wild" experiences Judy and I had while visiting Bangkok, Thailand several years ago was an encounter with a large water monitor while we were in a long boat cruising the canals. 
I saw it swimming in the muddy river water and tried to get the boatman to swerve to our left and get closer to it. He used his two arms and hands to simulate a gator chomp and shook his head negatively side to side. 
The large lizard emerged from the water up onto a cement embankment which provided us a nice view - I only wish we could have gotten closer. It was certainly the largest lizard I've ever seen in the wild. 
The average size of an adult water monitor is about 5 feet long and 27 pounds: ours was at least that - they can grow to 10 1/2 feet and 55 pounds. In Thailand the word for water monitor is used as an insulting word for bad and evil things, such as a bad person. They are very good swimmers, using the raised fin on the tail to steer in the water. They eat fish, frogs, rodents, birds, crabs, snakes and even turtles - apparently not humans. 

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