The ones that got away! Part 1

The ones that got away! Part 1

A tip for the wildlife loving camera trigger happy people among us who be travelling soon for either a adventure trip or volunteer abroad project! I can't say this enough, Always be prepared!

Malaysia, Penang, July 2001

We were hiking in small national park in the northwest corner of Penang. Not an island I would recommend necessarily but it is good stopover before venturing in to the unspoiled border area of Malaysia and Thailand (if you ever travel to the this region check the travel advise first  as it is a very unstable region).
It was quite a nice National Park with very little visitors consisting out of lowland rainforest, rivers, beaches and lagoons. We would hike there on a daily basis for the time we were stationed on Penang. We stopped at a small river which had a small wooden bridge build over it, from there we had a nice view in to the jungle on the one side and the ocean on the other.  Staring at the river making its way through the jungle I noticed something looked weird and out of place.  Being both green and yellow at first I figured that the thing laying in front of me  was probably a large part of a palm tree that had fallen down, but something just did not seem right. Then it hit me, I was looking at a tail of an enormous lizard! In my excitement pointing this out the lizard startled and started to move. For a moment we got a good look at it but before we were able to get our stowed away camera ready the oversized lizard ran of literally crashing through the jungle  breaking everything in its path.
The large lizard was none other than the water monitor lizard which after the Komodo dragon is the world's second largest lizard (if you go by weight), growing up to 3 meters in length. They are very common in Malaysia but all the specimens we saw before were somewhere between 1 - 2 meters in length and not afraid of humans at all. This Water Monitor on the other hand must have at least been 3 meters long and I believe was a contender for the world record (3.21 Meter).  If only we had our camera ready... What surprised me even more though it was 20 meters away it fled from us. On many other occasions I could get comfortable within a few meters of range of most Monitors. Perhaps this was the reason why it had grown to such a large size as it was smart enough to stay away from humans who do often kill these amazing lizards.

So in short, always have your camera ready even at the most unlikely of places as nature can have a big surprise for you around every corner!

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