Water monitor lizard spotted on Upper Serangoon Road during peak hour

Melissa Zhu Channel NewsAsia 4 Feb 17;

SINGAPORE: Motorists along Upper Serangoon Road on Friday evening (Feb 3) had to make their way around an unusual roadblock - a huge water monitor lizard lying across more than half a lane.

A Facebook Live video posted at 5.18pm showed the reptile sprawled on the road, unmoving, for about a minute, while cars manoeuvred around it.

The man who took the video, who wanted to be identified only as "Mr Lim" said he spotted a "black shadow" on the road before the exit to the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway. As it was raining at the time, he said he initially thought that the object was rubbish or fallen branches.

It was only when he saw the lizard's head move that he realised what it was.

Mr Lim added that he was able to take the video as he had stopped at a red light, near the reptile, but moved on when the lights changed.

Another witness, who wanted to be identified as "Mr Foo", told Channel NewsAsia that the lizard - which he took to be a crocodile at first - was alive when he passed it, and that he saw it slowly moving to the side.

Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) deputy chief executive Kalai Vanan told Channel NewsAsia that members of the animal rights group went to the scene, but could not find the water monitor lizard.

Mr Kalai added that the group saw photos that showed the lizard upside down, suggesting that it could have been run over by a vehicle.

"This part of Upper Serangoon Road is close to adjacent nature areas - mainly Upper Serangoon River and Punggol Park. The lizard probably got stranded trying to cross the road," he said.

Mr Kalai said that Acres would continue to monitor the situation to see if it would get further calls about the lizard. He also urged members of the public to call Acres at +65 9783 7782 if they saw wild animals in distress.

"However, when spotted on roads, time is of the essence. If possible and it is safe, members of public can try and divert traffic while waiting for our arrival. This will ensure the safety of the animal and drivers or riders."

The water monitor is the most common monitor lizard found in Singapore and can grow as long as three metres, according to NParks' website, which added that the reptiles can be found in forests and mangrove swamps, as well as man-made canals.

- CNA/mz

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