Sunday, May 20, 2007

Monkeys and Monitor Lizards - My Daily Encounter With Malaysian Wildlife

Every day at work, or on my way to or from work, I have an encounter with the local wildlife, mostly monkeys. This certain morning, I was on my way to the canteen, to see what they had for breakfast other than fried mee or nasi lemak. A monkey was sitting on the gazebo, watching me. I had my camera handy, so I took a picture of him. When I did, he stuck his tongue out at me!

Later on after work, I was passing by the Lake Gardens on my way home. There were some large dark simian forms with long tails running toward the trees. (No, it wasn't George W. Bush and his advisers. I got close enough to make sure). It was a small group of Dusky Leaf Monkeys.

They usually stay high up in the trees, and are shy. (The monkeys, that is, not Dubya and friends). When they come to the Lake Gardens, though, it seems like they will come to the ground and chase each other around for fun for a short while, before heading back to the trees and hanging out. I have tried other times to get a decent picture of them, but because of the shadows and their movements, I was never able to get a really clear shot. This guy was sitting in the perfect angle to the sun, and held still long enough for me to get a good picture.

After that I walked across the road, as they are doing work on the curbing and the sidewalk, and I got tired of climbing around the piles of rubble the workers left everywhere. Then I saw a big monitor lizard, being jabbered at by a common mynah. It must have measured five feet from nose to tail. Pretty impressive, but not as big as the ones we saw when we visited the Perhentian Islands off the coast of Terangganu. Those ones were massive, the size of large crocodiles. I swear, the biggest one must have been seven feet from nose to tail, and weighed more than I did. It was like being face to face with a real dinosaur, and Trien was terrified.

This one, though, was a midget, comparatively. It would have been easy for me to pick it up with one arm. Once he saw me, he ran for the riverbank.

Next I ran into this smaller monitor lizard. It was about three feet long from nose to tail. This one wasn't so eager to get away from me. It let me get pretty close, and posed for me, before it started moving away.

I could almost swear that it wanted me to take its picture!

What's a walk around the Lake Gardens without an encounter with one of the local troops of long tailed macaques? These guys seem to be taking note of the license plate number. Maybe they got a particularly nice treat from these people, and want it for future reference.

These guys were doing what monkeys usually do, being curious and playing around. The one on the silver car is hanging upside down by his feet from the roof, and looking in the window. I checked it out, and the window was shut, so he couldn't get in. There must be something awfully interesting or tasty inside that car. He spent the whole time I was there looking in the window like that!

It's all just part of the daily routine, but an interesting one, nonetheless.