Flora index
Fauna index
guide to the mangroves of singapore
Vertebrates: Reptiles
Peter K L Ng and N Sivasothi (editors)
  Malayan water monitor
Varanus salvator
Family Varanidae

up to over 200 cm

malayan water monitor
The Malayan water monitor has a forked tongue like a snake's, and it uses this as an olfactory organ to track down carrion and small animals. This lizard is not just a scavenger for it actively hunts and eats insects, crabs and fish.

Although it is most often encountered on the ground, it is adept at climbing trees and is also an expert swimmer. When startled, it often dives into the water to escape.

It is often mistaken for a crocodile or otter! The Estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus, Family Crocodilidae) has a much longer snout and raised ridges on the back, and is rarely seen in Singapore. The water monitor is usually an inoffensive creature unless cornered, when it will try to bite or lash out with its powerful tail. It is often captured for its hide and meat.

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What is mangrove?

The Ecosystem


Indirect uses
Potential uses

About Mangroves
in Singapore

Mangroves to visit
From "A Guide to Mangroves of Singapore", Peter K. L. Ng and N. Sivasothi (editors)
Volume 1: The Ecosystem and Plant Diversity and Volume 2: Animal Diversity
Authors: Kelvin K. P. Lim, Dennis H. Murphy, T. Morgany, N. Sivasothi, Peter K. L. Ng,
B. C. Soong, Hugh T. W. Tan, K. S. Tan & T. K. Tan
BP Guide to Nature Series published by the Singapore Science Centre, sponsored by British Petroleum
2001 Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, The National University of Singapore & The Singapore Science Centre