Malayan Water Monitor caught a Red-eared Slider

Jkai Chan’s images of the Malayan Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) feeding on a turtle at Pandan River documents another food record for this lizard. Kelvin KP Lim of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum identified it as a possible large red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), the type commonly sold as pets in aquarium shops. This is an introduced species.

This add on to the many food this lizard takes, that include Bighead Carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis), terrapin, snake, bird and rodent.

Other possible prey include Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata), Black Swan, Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) and Smooth Otter (Lutrogale perspicillata).

Originally seen only in rural canals, it is now found in large numbers in the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve LINK where they are a threat to nesting shorebirds LINK.

These lizards have also invaded urban homes LINK and schools LINK.

So far, only stray dogs have been known to attack them LINK. With no known predator, the population of the Malayan Water Monitor in Singapore is bound to increase. Will they become a nuisance in future? Only time will tell…

Jkai Chan (images), Kelvin KP Lim (identification) & YC Wee (writeup)
25th October 2019


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