Monitor lizard found in SMRT train depot

Monitor lizard found in SMRT train depot

lizard collage 2
Screenshots from the video show the monitor lizard being pulled away by an SMRT staff from under a stationary train.

SINGAPORE: A monitor lizard that was found in one of SMRT's train depots has been removed, the train operator said on Wednesday (Nov 29).  

A video circulating on social media shows a monitor lizard in the undercarriage of a stationary SMRT train on Tuesday. 

Channel NewsAsia understands this happened at Bishan depot.

"A monitor lizard was found in one of our depots yesterday and was removed," SMRT vice-president for corporate communications Patrick Nathan told Channel NewsAsia on Wednesday.

In the video, the monitor lizard was prodded from the undercarriage of a train compartment. Two people held down the reptile's head with a metal rod and the wooden handle of a dustpan, before a third person dragged it away by its tail. 

Animal Concerns Research & Education Society's (ACRES) deputy chief executive Kalai Balakrishnan said the handling of the lizard should have been left to experienced wildlife rescue personnel.

He added that the "presence of many people, use of sticks to probe the lizard, dragging of the tail can cause the animal to get very stressed".

This could also potentially harm the lizard and cause the animal to get very defensive, which may result in someone getting bitten, he said.

However, Mr Kalai added that ACRES appreciates the SMRT staff's intention to let the lizard go outside, as "the lizard can't be left where it was".

The two species of monitor lizards - Malayan water monitor lizards and clouded monitor lizards - are relatively common in Singapore, and the country's drainage and canal network systems serve as a habitat, according to Mr Kalai.

Members of the public are advised to call the ACRES wildlife rescue hotline at 9783 7782 when they come across such sightings. If they encounter a monitor lizard, they should not provoke, harm, or corner them.

Source: CNA/kc