Archive for September, 2013

Monitor Lizard in Yishun – A case study of STOMP’s wildlife articles

This isn’t the first time STOMP is posting pictures of local wildlife with lousy captions, drawing slews of misinformed and biophobic comments, but this recent photo (along with the comments) posted on their facebook page really ticked me off.

Monitor Lizard Yishun

“Monitor lizard’s appearance at Yishun housing block gives resident a scare” – STOMP facebook page


Lets take a look at some of the comments!

Lack of exposure to nature – SO BIG! SURE FAKE! ZOO ESCAPEE?

  • All the shocked comments on how huge it is.
  • All the comments likening it to crocodiles
  • All the comments about Godzilla
  • All the comments claiming the photo is fake
  • All the comments asking if it is an escaped pet or from the zoo.
  • Are you sure it’s a lizard and not a dinosaur
  • How did it get there in the first place? Hmmm lost pet probably.. hehehe
  • Not sure if photoshopped or it is someone’s pet
  • Should state “Please come over and claim your lost pet! ” LOLLOL!
  • This is not ‘just a lizard’ this is huge. Will definately scare me!!!!!!
  • Did this lizard come from fukushima nuclear plant?
  • Walao so fake sia
  • I’m “confirm” it from Mandai zoo. Ha………
  • That is soooo awesome! Should call the zoo!
  • That is one huge mother…
  • Fake n disgusting tis person so boring??????
  • Sure is lizard boh? Damn huge sia. I will faint one. Lucky I nvr stay in Yishun.
  • it is fack



  • Look like Komodo dragon….if it is, then run for your life..
  • Be careful it will kill human don’t play ! play!
  • Komodo dragon …wow!
  • Komodo ! ❤
  • damn! If only it wasnt deadly i would have kept this sexy beast haha!
  • The AVA happily culls unfortunate stray pets. Can we get them to handle this *genuinely* risky case?
  • It’s a crocodile
  • This one komodo dragon not lizard…… .
  • Dun come near….its saliva can cause harm to ya……
  • damn komodo!
  • Thats a water alligator
  • crocodile
  • wtf! tats a small croc!
  • Beware, they eat meat… Including human
  • komodos have super deadly salivas!! was this in ur building???
  • dis is humongous…must have swollen & feeds on domestic animals in da neighbourhood 4 years….
  • hahaha! Kodomo!
  • That creature can be very dangerous. Not wise to keep it as a pet..
  • dangerous animals


Biophobic – maybe just lizard-phobic. YUCKS, EEEEEKS!

  • What if it managed to get into the lift n into residents’ house?!?!?! (17 likes)
  • Woah better call the police. Dangerous to children
  • Eeeeeeks!!
  • Guys in arms pls use ur Machete to kill it
  • Omg! All my hair stand liao!
  • if i came out of the lift and saw that ill just press the close door button and lie down in the corner
  • wth is this thing doing here in our local hdb flat??!!! D:
  • I can’t imagine if anyone with kid came out from the lift. If me… i will shock to death.
  • OMG it is seriously looks scary
  • SOOO scary!!!!!!!
  • tat thing come by ma house, I keel it. DAM natche’ you scary!
  •  I live yishun! Oh noooo!!
  • Oh my goodness …. wild boar ok fine monkey okie ya… alamat now is 恐笼leh wa liao
  • Ok ths is reali scary!!!!!
  • Kill it before it lays eggs
  • omg.. i would probably run away screaming if i see this
  • YUCKS !!!!!!!!!!!
  •  Omg! scary as hell! like crocodile!
  • OMG! Luckily I didn’t live at Yishun
  • Yucks.


Xenophobic – Somehow, someone always manages to link it to “foreign talent”

  • KNN see lah, now even monitor lizard can swim over and apply HDB. (19 likes)
  • The PRCs will eat it. Don’t worry.
  • Hey…thats a PR about to get citizenship…
  • illegal immigrant
  • Could it be one of our foreign talent changing form oopsie…wrong suits. this HDB lift lah
  • Don’t need to call Spider-Man , just call china man to gobble it up


The Hungry Singaporean – WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE WANT TO EAT IT?

  • Monitor Lizard Soup? Yummuliciuos! Lol
  • Nice appetiser with vodka… curry monitor lizard…
  • Where is bear grylls now??he could eat that big thing for us! Lol
  • Fresh meat!
  • prepare your curry pot…
  • Send to vietnam…thailand..china…cambodia..for food.
  • atch it , grill it . Pan-fry it . Then make soup out of it .
  • must get and cook eat very nice u know woww.
  • Catch n cook curry lizard….lolz
  • Wow, can cook how many pots of curry??
  • This One Make Curry Powder Very Nice Lor!
  • Kill it and cook soup
  • Should cook curry with it  J
  • catch and make soup… good for health
  • Holely s**t look at that size ,how Em I to describe in words;Wooooo!! for those who likes exotic fooooood Mmmmmm Scrumptious *



  •  Door to door campaign …
    To be the next mp…
  • Where’s spiderman!?
  • Which school does it belong to. Better take back the class monitor. Lol
  • Lizard apply for BTO. Got lost in the area. Someone could have help it find it’s dream home.
  • Hahaha! People asking how it got there. What do you mean how it got there my dear? Lizard took cab from zoo, told uncle to take him to Block 810 Yishun Ring Rd. Lol.
  • Relax la. Hired by loan sharks as runner..
  • obese cicakman. HEHEHEHE!


It’s the fault of humans! – (these aren’t so bad)

  • All the “leave it alone” comments
  • Due to urbanisation, the lizard needs a home and is sharing a community living with us.
  •  We invaded the monitor lizard’s territory, not the other way around
  • Deforestation @ Yishun
  • Deforestation. We’re obviously destroying their homes L
  • Effects of deforestation. Humans are destroying nature for greed
  • Too much concrete jungle in Singapore, and no more bushes and forests for them to wonder they wander off to look for new homes. So pitiful
  • They lost their homes to urbanization
  • singapore build and build HDB, houses, building. they got no were to go. kinda pity.. lol
  • Im not the biggest fan of reptiles but feel sad for them. Juz looking for food, shelter n trying to survive.
  • Hopefully he is not hurt. We find them scary. They find us more scary cos we destroy their habitat.
  • Not surprised lahhhh this lizard could be spotted where there are big longkangs n some forested area nearby n they could be as big or bigger then this one in the picture!!! Y it wonder in the HDB area you got to ask the GVT!!!! all over this tiny red dot being uncovered n dig all the forested area being disturb n where do this lizards want to go??? I ever saw one at BKE it just come out from the bushes n walk straight to the EXPRESS WAY N BEING run over by a HEAVY VEHICLE so i guess we humans have already DISTURBING THEIR HABBITAT!!!!
  • Not komodo lah…. next time watch more nature documentary. See how human destroy nature. Then we humans blame the animals….. what the f@#$!!
  • What a joke. This show that Singapore is running out of Forest area. Everywhere is HDB flats and Condos. Now need to live in HDB flat like us. Hehehe.
  • I think humans should learn to accept these poor animals more. It must be hungry or no place to go. All the humans’ fault anyway…
  • pore now lacking space of nature reserves land due to urbanization by our govt dats y all these animals appeared at our doorsteps coz they gt no where else to live..


The few redeeming ones

  • All the “So cute!”, “COOL” and “Beautiful” comments
  • Call acres!!
  • Poor thing, lose it’s way at concrete jungle. Glad to know that someone know how to call ACRES for assistance.
  • Seriously whats the big deal? For nature and animal lovers its normal to see lizards of this size. That MRT station is near to bottletree water areas so its not suprising to see it there. Only SG “Sua Ku” who has been constantly surrounded by concrete walls /hates to go out to nature will feel so shock.
  • OMG, there is still nature in SG…omg..bliss!!
  • Wonderful creature. Poor guy to get so lost. Not scary at all!
  • Hope it is safely send back to its habitat and not pts. True more and more hdbs and development taking over THIER habitats. Poor creatures have been squeezed out of thier homes. Hope the ava doesnt kill it. Its size might be a grandpa or grandma already let it live longer pls.
  • Its a monitor lizard not a water aligator.
  • This lizard is harmless as long as you don’t antagonize it..kampung days they were roaming everywhere
  • Beautiful creature. Hope the humans don harm it.


Ivan jumps into the fray!

“Sheesh, calm down folks. Yes, we do have large monitor lizards (this species is the Malayan water monitor), you would have easily realised this if you ever visited Sungei Buloh. Large monitor lizards can be found near water, and the Malayan water monitor is most often seen in canals, mangroves and other coastal habitats, and along lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. This one clearly must have wandered over from Bottle Tree Park or Lower Seletar Reservoir. And while huge, they are mostly quite harmless unless disturbed – the tail is its primary weapon if it feels threatened when curious humans get too close.…/malayan_water_monitor.htm…/reptilia/salvator.htm


I also weighed in with

“Goodness people the lizard isn’t scary, your comments are! This Malayan water monitor (NOT A KOMODO DRAGON. They are found only in Indonesia and some zoos) is a species native to Singapore, and yes they really do normally grow to that size. If you’ve ever been to Sungei Buloh, these magnificent beasts are everywhere!
They are beautiful creatures, and generally not harmful or aggressive unless disturbed. This one has just lost its way, no need for disgust or panic!”

It has 21 likes so far, good to see some people actually agree with the sentiment!



STOMP please stop spreading irrational fear. These water monitors are native wildlife that are generally harmless unless provoked. If you want to keep posting stuff like this, at least clarify and inform in the caption instead of just trying to sensationalise.


As a social media platform with immense reach, you have the responsibility to provide factual information! Can you imagine how useful STOMP would be if the captions were more accurate? It could actually serve educational purpose.


On that, I bemoan the lack of natural history in the fundamental education of Singaporeans. In an increasingly urbanised landscape, the number of run-ins with wild animals is bound to be rather high, isn’t basic knowledge of what wildlife we have and how to/not to deal with them at least somewhat important?