Large monitor lizard caught at Phuket resort

A large roughneck monitor lizard was found roaming the grounds of a Phuket resort on April 10.

“This kind of animal is usually at home in the wild and rarely finds its way into built-up areas, but if it is cornered it may bite to defend itself,” Piyawat Sukhon, Director of the Khao Phra Thaeo Non-hunting Area office in Thalang, told The Phuket News.

“We would like to advise people who see such lizards to please stay away from them and call rescue workers,” he added.

The plea for sensible precautions follows Kusoldharm rescue workers being called to a resort in Nai Yang at 5:30pm yesterday after staff there spotted a monitor lizard climbing a hotel wall.

The first-responders soon arrived and took more than 20 minutes to catch the reptile, which was later properly identified as a roughneck monitor lizard.

The lizard reacted fiercely, with rescue workers apprehensive to get close to it in order to snare it.

“The roughneck is no more harmful than a regular monitor lizard, but when feeling threatened it can flare the scales on its neck much like a cobra and hiss loudly,” Mr Piyawat explained.

The lizard, once in hand, was handed over to Srisoonthorn rescue workers, who delivered the four-kilogram monitor to the the Khao Phra Thaeo Non-hunting Area office in Thalang.

“The roughneck is a protected species in Thailand,” Mr Piywat noted.

“Its natural habitat is the rainforest and mangrove forests of Southern Thailand and Myanmar adn it is also found on Sumatra and Borneo Island, in Malaysia and the Philippines, and recently it was spotted in Khao Yai National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima in Northeast Thailand,” Mr Piyawat said.

“It is good at climbing trees, and it likes to eat chickens, birds and frogs,” he added.


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