Friday, 12 July 2019

Concerns over lizard ‘invasion’ put to rest – via Herp Digest




The Star Online, Malaysia 7/6/19, 
by R.S. N. Murali

MELAKA: Despite Melaka being known as a habitat for monitor li­­zards, a state exco has dispelled concerns about the reptile creeping into homes.

The assurance from State Agri­cul­ture, Agro-Based, Entrepre­neur De­­ve­­lopment and Cooperative Com­­mittee chairman Norhizam Has­­­san Baktee came about following pictures that went viral of a monitor lizard climbing over the gate of a terrace house.

“I have checked with the Depart­ment of Wildlife and National Parks and other relevant agencies but no reports have been received here,” he said, adding that the image circulated on social media came from another state.

In an interview yesterday, he acknowledged that he was initially surprised when he got a call about the so-called “Godzilla” in the house.

He said there were few reports about encroachment by monitor lizards as the Melaka River is a sanctuary for these reptiles known as sei keok ser (four-legged snake in Cantonese).

However, this usually happened after flash floods, he added.

Norhizam said one caller claimed that a monitor lizard had entered a home in Ujong Pasir, where the tributary of Sungai Duyong runs through the residential area.

“I was told that the family members were afraid to leave their home,” he said.

He, however, said checks with the relevant authorities confirmed that the incident did not happen in Melaka.

Norhizam said the frequent hunting of these reptiles for their skin or supposed aphrodisiac value had led to fewer sightings of this reptile.

“Decades ago, it was a common sight to see them lazing along the banks of Melaka River. Now, it’s rare,” he said.

Any sightings of it were usually inside drains in Jalan Bukit Cina and Bandar Hilir, he added.

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