Monitor lizard leads NParks officers and residents on wild chase around Taman Jurong estate

Ian Cheng and Sherlyn Sim
The Straits Times
September 27, 2023

A lost, panicking monitor lizard led residents and National Parks Board (NParks) officers on a wild chase around Taman Jurong estate on Monday as they tried repeatedly to catch the animal.

A video posted on Monday by TikTok user svkorr shows the cartoonish chase sequence that opens with the monitor lizard scuttling along an HDB corridor, while the person filming giggles and follows closely behind.

The monitor lizard runs down a flight of stairs and looks cornered on the staircase landing by the person filming and someone else armed with a broom.

Then the video cuts to two men in NParks vests attempting to wrangle the reptile into a carrier, but it manages to slip away at the last second.

The video then cuts again to the duo chasing the lizard to a nearby void deck before it is successfully caught and put inside a carrier.

On TikTok, the video of the chase – which looked like it began in the late afternoon and lasted till evening – drew nearly 30,000 likes.

NParks’ group director of wildlife management Ryan Lee said its officers had been alerted to a sighting of a monitor lizard at an HDB block along Yung An Road at about 6.50pm on Monday.

Mr Lee said the reptile, a Malayan water monitor, was removed and released at a forested site away from residential areas.

“The Malayan water monitor is the most commonly seen monitor lizard in Singapore and can be found in some of our parks, forests, mangrove swamps, and even man-made canals,” he said.

“Monitor lizards play an important role in our ecology, as they feed on a wide variety of food types including insects, crabs, snakes, and fish. They also play an important role as scavengers in biomass breakdown and nutrient recycling.”

Mr Lee advised members of the public who encounter a monitor lizard to observe it from distance and leave it alone, pointing out that these were shy animals that usually try to avoid humans.

“They are also generally not aggressive and will not attack unless they are disturbed or provoked. Any pets should also be kept on a tight leash, as they might chase the monitor lizard and frighten it,” he said.

Members of the public can call the 24-hour Animal Response Centre on 1800-476-1600 if assistance is required.


playing catching ig ?

♬ original sound - sukor