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'Coming up 11 floors is quite ridiculous': Punggol resident's shock as monitor lizard suddenly wanders into flat

'Coming up 11 floors is quite ridiculous': Punggol resident's shock as monitor lizard suddenly wanders into flat
PHOTO: Screengrab/CNA

Imagine walking out to the living room, only to see a monitor lizard happily roaming around. 

That's what Jeffery Toh's domestic helper experienced on Thursday evening (June 27). 

In a Waterway Terraces II residents' Facebook group, Toh shared videos of the massive lizard wandering around his Punggol HDB flat. 

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) clips reveal that the reptile had climbed through the locked gates of the unit while the door was open. 

After getting into the house, the monitor lizard can be seen roaming around the living room near the sofa and television console. 

Other footage show the animal climbing over potted plants on the balcony. 

Speaking to CNA, Toh shared that he was at work when he received a call from his maid at around 5pm saying that the lizard had entered their house. 

She was preparing dinner when the incident happened and jumped onto the dining table in fright. 

Brooms were used to chase the reptile to the balcony and Toh's family trapped it outside by locking the sliding doors. 

Gauging from the height of the balcony, the animal was about 1.5m long. 

While rushing home from the office, Toh called his father, who lives in another unit in the same block, for help. A neighbour offered help as well, reported CNA.

Toh also called the police, who directed him to the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES).

However, the animal protection charity's response team was out on call and was not be available for another few hours. So, he contacted the National Parks Board (NParks).

Two hours later, a two-man team arrived and used tongs and blankets to capture the reptile before placing it in a cage.

"[The experience was] very, very interesting. I have no idea how it climbed up. Coming up 11 floors is quite ridiculous. Luckily, we trapped it on the balcony," Toh told CNA. 

"Our block has kids running around, so this is not very safe." 

Toh shared that the monitor lizard was so huge that while waiting for NParks' officers to arrive, he picked up his daughter from childcare and could see the animal sprawled on his balcony ledge from the opposite block. 

He added that there is a possibility that the reptile is a neighbour's pet.

"It was very clean, didn’t bring any mud. Its markings were very nice, not like the ones you see outside. Those downstairs are usually dirty and have scars," he observed.

Under Singapore's Wildlife Act, it is illegal to remove wild animals, including monitor lizards, from the wild.

Encountering a monitor lizard

If you chance upon a monitor lizard, NParks advises members of the public to:

  • Not be alarmed as these animals are shy and will not attack humans unless provoked or cornered.
  • Not touch, chase or corner them as they may attack in defence. You are advised to leave them alone. It is fine to observe them from afar.
  • Seek medical attention immediately if (in a rare event) you are bitten. Although monitor lizards do secrete venom, it is not fatal to humans. The main cause for concern would be a bacterial infection from the bite.

AsiaOne has reached out to NParks for more details. 

ALSO READ: Jurong resident chases monitor lizard along corridor

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