Lizards & Crocodilians


Lizards & Crocodilians of Singapore

The Malayan water monitor (Varanus salvator), which can reach a length of 3 metres, is the most prevalent monitor lizard among the three found in Singapore. The other two species, the rarest of which is the Dumeril's monitor (Varanus dumerilii) and the cloudy monitor lizard (Varanus nebulous), can reach lengths of 1 to 1.5 metres. Most monitor lizards are carnivorous, although some also eat carrion. Forests, mangrove swamps, and even artificial canals all contain it.

Significant Ecological Functions

  • reduction of the number of prey Insects, crabs, snakes, fish, and other creatures are just a few of the many different types of food that monitor lizards eat. By controlling the number of their prey, they also provide food for larger predators (eg. crocodiles).

  • Maintain the habitat: They are crucial scavengers in the recycling and breakdown of biomass.

Most Common Types of Lizards

The four most prevalent types of house lizards or geckos (also known as "Cicak") in Singapore are:

  • Four-Clawed Gecko (Gehyra mutilata)

  • Asian House Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus)

  • Flat-Tailed Gecko (Cosymbotus platyurus)

  • Spotted House Gecko (Gekko monarchus)

  • Malayan Water Monitor Lizard & Clouded Monitor Lizard

  • Dumeril’s Monitor Lizard & Dumeril’s Monitor Lizard (juvenile)


These geckos range in size from 10 to 25 cm and often have soft, fragile skin that is brown or greyish. Although they do not endanger health, their presence instils terror. In contrast, outdoor Monitor Lizards (Family Varanidae) can grow to a length of over 2m, and because of their dangerously long, muscular tails, which can harm both people and animals, they are dangerous.

More than 50 microorganisms found in the monitor's saliva slowly infect and kill their victim. Is this a fact?
The monitor's teeth pick up carrion meat, which is rife with bacteria that can infect the bite site. The monitor's venom, however, is the primary factor in the demise of prey.


Do monitor lizards have poison?
Contrary to popular opinion, most lizards do have venomous glands. The monitor uses its venom to kill its little preys (symptoms include fast swelling, a reduction in blood pressure, and the inhibition of blood clotting), but it only affects people in relatively moderate ways.


Do they pose a threat?
They prefer to avoid people since they are inherently bashful. They are generally timid and won't attack unless provoked.

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