Barbecued Monitor Lizard, Anyone?

Posted by on Jan 3, 2011 in Bali | 18 comments

Twice since starting this trip I have had encounters with monitor lizards. The first time I was walking along the boardwalk in Malacca and glancing to my right I stopped dead in my tracks. I thought I was going to pee myself! At first I thought I was seeing an alligator charging down the road, then I decided it looked like a mini komodo dragon. I was looking for a place to run in case the thing saw me and decided to have me for lunch. All he really wanted was to get back in the water. I finally managed to get my camera up and got a shot of his tail as he slivered into the waterway.

Monitor Lizard's Tail

A few feet further along there was this small one sunning himself. I figured this must be one of the kids.

Small Monitor Lizard

Then, yesterday I was coming back from the rice fields here in Ubud when these three guys walked past me. Next thing I know I’m looking at the middle guy swinging this dead monitor lizard around like it was nothing. Notice the gun in the other guys hand. Again, I was totally taken aback, but I was able to get the camera and get this shot before they disappeared between two walls.

Barbecued Monitor Lizard. Anyone?

I did do a bit of research and it seems that there is a demand for monitor lizards from some of the local Balinese restaurants, and there is some demand from the local shops for their skins. I hope I don’t find either!

It’s encounters like these that make traveling so interesting, and add a bit of mystery. I’m still wondering exactly what they did with their trophy…sold him, ate him, or a bit of both. Only they know for sure…

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  1. Hah,little guys are like miniture dragons!

  2. This reminds me of that old Marlon Brando/Matthew Broderick movie “The Freshman” (only that was a komodo dragon i think)!

    • Hi Michael…..I would say these are cousins of the komodo. Much smaller, but look very similar.

  3. Nice shots, Nancie — I don’t know if I would have gotten my wits about me soon enough to take photos. I remember seeing large lizards on the island of St. Thomas — they seemed to roam around everywhere and people (other than me) didn’t seem to take much notice.

    • Hi Catherine………I’m surprised I got any shots. I would have loved to have gotten a shot of the one running down the road in Malacca, but that one left me useless!

  4. Just the other day I was looking at my photos from Malaysia and trying to think what those things were called. I didn’t know people bbqed them. 🙁

  5. I think they are cute! I love big lizards. 🙂

  6. These would be called Bunarras in Australia and we encountered many on our Extraordinary Taxi Ride in May last year.
    I even gently kicked one at my feet.

    Beautiful animals and a shame to see these being eaten as in many Asian countries they’re in danger of being wiped out

  7. BBQ’ed lizard makes me sad.

  8. They don’t eat you! (The lizards I mean) but I can understand that you got the jitters. I saw them a lot in St Thomas too, nobody takes any notice of them. Cute little chaps they are. I couldn’t eat them, barbequed or otherwise.

  9. Nothing with the word Monitor in it’s name should be eaten. It’s just wrong.

  10. That’s some lizard, Nancie! I’m sure we’ll all be interested to know if you’ve sought it out in the restaurants…

  11. Poor lizard! It’s funny but international travel is seriously turning me into a vegetarian. In South East Asia, you are so much closer to animals – living with chickens in the yard, cows wandering across the road … I find it much harder to eat them than I did when I could pick them up nicely packaged and looking nothing like the animal from Waitrose!

  12. wow! francisco and i had 7 lizards as pets before we started traveling too much and gave them to caring friends, and i still don’t think i’d be thinking about my camera in this instance! i’d be thinking RUN! 🙂 you’re a brave lady nancie!

  13. I can’t imagine they’d taste much good. Although I have eaten snake and crocodile and (you guessed it) they tasted like chicken!

  14. yeah, that last photo kind makes me sad, too. and I think BBQ should be left for the pigs!

  15. Travelling in Asia, you will definitely get to see weird delicacies. I’ve been to China once and the kind of food that I found there astounded me.


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