Friday, April 29, 2011

Land Monitor Lizard from Yala National Park, Sri Lanka

The land monitor lizard is a fairly large sized reptile that is found quite commonly at Yala National Park in Sri Lanka. This reptile, though very slow owing to its large bulk is pretty strong and is known to even kill an adult deer for its meals.

Land Monitor Lizard bathed in golden rays of the sun 
I was lucky to spot many of them during my wildlife safari trips into Yala National Park, the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is situated near the South Eastern coastline of Sri Lanka. They are locally known as ‘thalagoya’ (thanks to Heminda for the local name). Some of them that I saw here were significantly huge and much larger than the ones I have seen in India.

Land Monitor Lizard at Yala National Park 
I was also lucky to spot these reptiles in great light. For e.g., I saw one of them clinging onto a tree in the golden hues of the early morning light. I saw a couple of them crossing the road and some of them amongst the bushes.

Land Monitor lizard hanging on the tree trunk

It is said that the land monitor lizard, like the crocodile has extremely powerful digestive juices and can digest nearly anything. But, if you intend to get close to these creatures, do watch out for their poisonous saliva, which if ingested by your body can cause serious damage. And for their long tail, which can deal a solid blow.

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