Monitor lizard chomps down on pig-nosed turtle in front of black swan at S'pore Botanic Gardens

With surprise guest appearances from a romp of otters.

Zi Shan Kow | September 14, 2021, 02:59 PM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

On the morning of Sep. 12, Jared Tan visited Singapore Botanic Gardens in hopes of photographing diving kingfishers.

Instead, what Tan stumbled upon was an incredible sight — a giant monitor lizard tearing into the neck of a pig-nosed turtle, overturned on the edge of Eco Lake.

The following photos he captured are rather gruesome.

*Warning: Graphic images ahead.*

Photo courtesy of Jared Tan.

Photo courtesy of Jared Tan.

Photo courtesy of Jared Tan.

Photo courtesy of Jared Tan.

Cause of death unknown

From what he could tell, Tan told Mothership that that the turtle was already dead before the monitor lizard arrived.

Monitor lizards are largely carnivorous, and are hardly picky eaters. They consume anything they can get their hands on, dead or alive.

Before digging in, the lizard inspected the turtle closely. As the monitor lizard went straight for the neck, it also whipped its tail on the surface of the lake.

Photo courtesy of Jared Tan.

Otters at the scene

Tan said that he was first alerted to the commotion when he spotted a romp of otters running away from the lake towards some bushes.

Another Facebook user, Tekko Koh, appears to have been at the scene just before Tan.

Sharing his own photos on the group Singapore Wildlife Sightings, Koh witnessed a romp of otters surrounding the same turtle.

Photo by Tekko Koh.

Photo by Tekko Koh.

Like monitor lizards, otters are also voracious predators, and attacks on turtles are not unheard of.

A curious bystander

The scene attracted not just a small crowd of park-goers, but an unlikely observer also came by to watch the monitor lizard enjoy its meal.

A black swan approached the edge of the lake, looking slightly concerned.

After a while, the monitor lizard stared the swan down until it finally swam away, Tan recounted.

A spectator. Photo courtesy of Jared Tan.

Black swan: "I'm vegetarian dude, not trying to steal your food." Photo courtesy of Jared Tan.

A satisfying lunch

15 minutes later, the monitor seemed contented with its meal.

It crawled away, leaving the turtle carcass mostly intact, Tan said.

While monitor lizards are indigenous, pig-nosed turtles are non-native to Singapore. These turtles, when found in nature parks like the Botanic Gardens, are typically abandoned pets.

Photo by Jared Tan.

Photo courtesy of Jared Tan.

Lately, nature's true brutal nature has been put on full display in numerous incidents:

Follow and listen to our podcast here

Top images by Jared Tan.