Video: Water Monitor Lizard Spotted Wading Through Sewers of Bangkok

Water Monitor
A giant monitor lizard pops out of its hideout in a dirty marsh covered with water-hyacinth and surrounded by bush at Madangang, 20 km (12 miles) from Bangladesh capital Dhaka May 21. Reuters

Tourists in Bangkok got a bit of a scare outside a temple in the Thai city when they spotted a large lizard crawling through the sewer. John Hernandez was able to catch the animal on camera, filming a 12 second video of the animal wading through the sewer system just below a metal grate.

Hernandez identified the lizard as a "huge komodo dragon," and while it looks menacing, the lizard is actually a water monitor. An average water monitor is between five and six feet long, they're most commonly found in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India. According to Reptile Rescue, water monitors can live as long as 25 years and their bite can be extremely painful.

In the wild, water monitors wrestle for female attention. Two eight-foot water monitors were caught on tape wrestling, clenching one another with their claws and throwing the other into the water until one of the lizards swam away. "They could crush [a human] with a body clench," National Geographic reported after videotaping two water monitors fighting in the wild.

Spotting water monitors in Bangkok is not all too unusual: a Reptiles Magazine reporter Uwe Gerlach found several in Bangkok's Lumphini Park. Gerlach and his son found both an adult water monitor and a 15-inch long baby lizard. The largest water monitor spotted by the reporter was between 7 and 8 feet. "We found it surprising that many of the monitors were lying fairly close to people who were picnicking on the park's grassy areas," Gerlach wrote in the magazine. "Monitors that were swimming in a pond did not seem at all bothered by the paddle boats cruising past them."