Vigilant and delightfully ocellated in decoration, an Asian Water Monitor Lizard watches the World go by from the branches of a tree in Thai Village, Bangkok. Image and copyright Chang 2016

Vigilant and delightfully ocellated in decoration, an Asian Water Monitor Lizard watches the World go by from the branches of a tree in Thai Village, Bangkok. Image and copyright Chang 2016

chang_portraitWildopeneye is proud to welcome a new wildlife photographer to the team. His name’s Chang and his pictures are interesting glimpses of life in S.E. Asia!  Here’s a taste of his wildlife photography from that other City of Angels, exotic Bangkok in tropical Thailand. This is Varanus salvadorii The Asian Water Monitor Lizard, aka The Malaysian Water Monitor Lizard. This creature is a super lizard; it can be 6ft long  and it runs, climbs and swims very well. It has some lovely yellow circular markings on it’s dark skin and a very perky, vigilant attitude that might explain the name Monitor.

I’ve seen one of these draped over a tree branch on the Mahakam river in Borneo and been startled at the way the bright pattern actually helps camouflage the lizard. They are diurnal, opportunistic carnivores ranging from Sri Lanka through Borneo and  Indonesia that enjoy a range of live and carion food including insects, crustaceans, amphibians, fish, reptiles, birds and eggs. Whatever they can get and physically manage!

Like snakes they have forked tongues to taste the air and sense smells and they tend to swallow their prey whole, but have been seen tearing up large fish. Their saliva is mildly poisonous like the Komodo Dragons’, but they are not harmful to people, far preferring to escape than bite or scratch with their powerful claws.

This family line is ancient, harking back to the enormous Mosasaurs of the Cretaceous period. It’s related to the larger Indonesian Komodo Dragons and there’s a record length reported on Wikipedia (Asian_water_monitor) page that is comparable, at over ten feet! That’s not a misprint. A good deal of their length is comprised of a flexible tail!

Chang has captured a very nice set of photographs including the battling dragons below!

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Like battling dragons rearing out of the water, the Asian Water Monitors embrace! Chang has captured a wonderful climactic moment in the Asian Water Monitors wrestling match in the lake at Thai Village, in Bangkok. Photo and copyright Chang 2016

I asked Chang if they were mating or injuring each other and he says no, he’s often enjoyed watching them do this, they’re playing!

Adaptations to their aquatic lifestyle include their ability to close their nostrils and to swim with sinuous full body motion, with their arms folded behind their backs to reduce drag.

They’re very cool. Super Lizards indeed!

For licensed commercial use of Chang’s remarkable images of Asian Monitor Lizards without the overlays contact chang@wildopeneye.com

Wildopeneye has received no payment for this article.