Monitor Lizards in Bangkok, Thailand – Huge and a Bit Scary

monitor lizard thailand


If you spend time around nature in Bangkok, Thailand (and yes, we still have a lot of it), you might be surprised to suddenly come across what looks like a cross between a big snake and a crocodile. These creatures are actually called monitor lizards and can still be seen in the wild in a few areas of Bangkok, but particularly in Lumphini Park.

I’d never seen a monitor lizard in Bangkok up close and personal until I came home from work early one afternoon just in time to see the security guards at my apartment building in Bangkok unceremoniously shoving a small one into a sack.

Apparently it had nonchalantly wandered into the foyer of my apartment building and taken a look around. Of course, the security guards grabbed it and likely, unfortunately, would probably be selling it to a restaurant that would cook it up for their customers – as against the law as that might be.

Can monitor lizards in Bangkok be dangerous? Yes. They bite and have extremely long and strong claws. Plus, if provoked, particularly by a small animal like a dog, they can be deadly to the dog.

After all, they eat chicken, snakes, fish, rats and birds primarily, so a small dog isn’t that much different.

Interestingly, in Thailand too, one of the worst things you can call anyone is the Thai word for monitor lizard or “ihea”. Technically just meaning ‘monitor lizard’ it also has the connotation of being as bad as the American term “motherf*cker”.

Thai kids delight in using it, of course, as it’s very very bad in Thailand.

Watch the short video below of a monitor lizard in Lumphini Park in Bangkok, just to see how big they are. Yep, they’re pretty big.