Chin’s Nature Corner

Tree Lizard (family Agamidae)
Lizards and snakes

FROM MY FEW encounters with lizards, I have learnt that these creatures are more afraid of humans than we are of them. Despite their fearsome looks, they will flee at the approach of humans. But like most people, I am really, really scared of snakes. The sight of one slithering by sends shivers down my spine. Fortunately for me, snakes are mostly nocturnal in habit and I don't often encounter them on my day-time jaunts into the jungle. So there are only a few snakes that I have captured on film. I have included two snakes in this section, one of which I saw eating a lizard.

Tree Lizard Tree Lizard Tree Lizard
Tree Lizard Gonocephalus species (Family Agamidae) ~ Agamids are tree lizards which feed mainly on insects, and they can often be seen clinging onto tree trunks. Many species look fearsome because of the row of sharp spines along their back. They are in fact quite timid and will scamper up the tree at the sight or sound of a human approaching it. These lizards were photographed in a secondary forest not far from Kuala Lumpur.
The Green Crested Lizard (Calotes cristatellus) ~ This lizard species is commonly found in secondary growth, at the forest fringe and also in agricultural areas, especially if they are situated near a forest. They can be seen quite frequently in rural or suburban gardens, perched on a fence or a post like the specimen at far right. When frightened, it can change its colour to brown or dark grey. However, it is not a chameleon which is not found east of India.
Green Crested Lizard Green Crested Lizard
Oriental Whip Snake Oriental Whip Snake

The Oriental Whip Snake (Ahaetulla prasina) ~ This is a common snake that is native to Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. I found this specimen, which was about one metre (yard) long, "strung over" a cactus beside a rural path, perhaps warming itself in the late afternoon sunshine. The species can grow up to two metres, and feeds mainly on small birds and lizards. The location was an agricultural area in Beruas, in the state of Perak, and the cactus, a non-native species, had probably been planted as an ornamental.
Snake captures lizard
Snake Captures Flying Lizard ~ Some movement caught my attention as I was trekking through a secondary forest, armed with a camera. I walked closer and caught sight of this snake trying to eat a lizard as its victim was struggling and repeatedly jerking its body. The victim was a flying lizard (Draco species), a species quite common in that forest not far from Kuala Lumpur. In this picture, the flaps of skin, or patagia, which aid the species in gliding, can be seen partly extended from the lizard's body. I took several pictures and left the snake to continue with its meal. Several days later I passed by the spot and found the carcass of a lizard, possibly the same specimen. So perhaps the snake (possibly a Painted Bronzeback, Dendrelaphis pictus) had not manage to swallow what it had caught.
This page revised on 09 October 2018. Copyright © Chin Fah Shin.