Encounters of the scaly kind in Singapore

Encounters of the scaly kind in Singapore

SINGAPORE - You've seen them at lift landings, "hugging" in public, clinging to flat gate grilles and swimming with other people. No, they are not typical Singaporeans; they are monitor lizards.

Several sightings of the reptiles have been posted on citizen-journalism website Stomp in recent months, including a large one at a lift lobby of a Housing Board block in Yishun Ring Road on Saturday, raising concern among members of the public.

A netizen, who wanted to be known only as Adrian, posted a photo of the lizard on Stomp on the day he saw it, and told My Paper that it was caught by the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) shortly after. Police officers were also involved.

Acres then released the lizard to the nearby Yishun Neighbourhood Park.

Ms Anbarasi Boopal, Acres' group director of wildlife, said monitor lizards found and "rescued" are commonly released in nearby green areas where they are believed to have come from.

Earlier this month, another netizen posted on Stomp that he saw a large monitor lizard in a canal near a bus stop in Toa Payoh.

In June, a resident spotted a monitor lizard at the void deck of her Ang Mo Kio block near letterboxes.

Undergraduate Athena Wee, 23, said she saw a monitor lizard swimming at a pool in Changi Beach Club last year, before making its way into some bushes.

There were a few swimmers in the same pool, but they were "pretty calm" and "more excited than afraid to see the creature", she said.

Since last year, Ms Anbarasi said the number of monitor lizards that Acres has rescued has been consistent, between four and eight rescues per month.

She added that people started sharing monitor-lizard sightings only more recently due to the rise of social media.

On why the lizards find their way into residential estates, Ms Anbarasi said the reptiles - which can grow to 1.5m in length - might have travelled along a canal to chase prey and got lost.

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