Extremely chonky monitor lizard spotted chilling at S'pore Botanic Gardens

The chonkiest boi.

Ashley Tan | June 11, 2020, 04:50 PM

Water monitor lizards aren't uncommon in Singapore.

They can frequently be seen at various parks and nature areas, and are usually found near waterways where there are plenty of fish they can snack on.

One Riann Goettl recently spotted the reptile at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. A rather huge monitor lizard in fact.

Absolute unit

Goettl tells Mothership she and her husband like to visit the area for some exercise and to soak in the relaxing atmosphere, surrounded by greenery.

Often, they would look out for lizards as well. Goettl shared that the reservoir behind Symphony Stage was inhabited by plenty of reptiles, and one was guaranteed to spot lizards and terrapins there.

On May 20, they spotted what they believed to be one of the largest monitor lizards ever.

Here's a picture of the absolute unit.

Photo courtesy of Riann Goettl

Goettl said they estimated that the lizard was around 6 feet, or 1.8m from head to tail.

Considering how huge the lizard's stomach was, it might have just finished gobbling down a meal.

Photo courtesy of Riann Goettl

Goettl posted the photos to the Facebook page of local nature group Nature Society Singapore. It was mostly shock and awe at the size of the lizard.

Named the lizard "Ronnie"

Goettl and her husband are Singapore Permanent Residents, and have lived here for 16 years. They hail from the U.S. and UK respectively.

Goettl revealed that although the pair don't often visit nature areas, they have discovered a new love for the green spaces since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Although they have only visited Macritchie Reservoir, Fort Canning Park and the Singapore Botanic Gardens thus far, they plan on visiting all the other nature areas around Singapore once Covid-19 measures are eased further.

They have since affectionately nicknamed the huge creature at the botanic gardens "Ronnie".

Here is a clip of Ronnie observing the passers-by.

Although all monitor lizards look pretty similar, Singapore actually has three species—the Malayan water monitor lizard, Clouded monitor lizard and Dumeril's monitor lizard, the former of which is the most common.

The Malayan water monitor lizard can grow up to three metres long, so Ronnie potentially still has some growing to do.

They feed on a variety of foods like crabs, snakes and fish.

If you encounter one in the wild, do not be alarmed and keep your distance. Monitor lizards are shy and will not attack unless provoked or cornered.

In the rare event that you have sustained a bite, seek medical attention immediately as a bacterial infection might occur from the bite.

Top photo courtesy of Riann Goettl