In April 2021, a large Asian water monitor lizard (Varanus salvator) wandered into a 7-11 convenience store on the outskirts of Bangkok. One of the employees made a video of it that made quite a splash on some social media sites. I haven’t seen the video in the blogs I follow so thought it might be interesting to share even though the video itself is not exactly breaking news.
Lowland freshwater and brackish wetlands, canals and rivers in South and Southeast Asia is the primary habitat for these monitor lizards. They are comfortable even in urban settings. The first time I saw one was in 2017 during a marvelous off the beaten path bicycle and longtail boat tour of of Bangkok.
These lizards commonly reach 5-6 feet (1.5-2meters) in length or longer. The video that went viral shows a large water monitor lizard that wandered into a 7-11 on the outskirts of Bangkok.
Clean up on Aisle 5!
Supermarkets are few and far between in Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia, and convenience stores like 7-11s and Family Marts fill the void. In Bangkok there’s one every couple of blocks. I rely on them for snacks (hot and cold), beer, and personal items that I run out of or may have forgotten to pack. You can find just about anything.
I wonder what the monitor lizard in the video was looking for. If you’d like to see one in a more natural habitat while visiting the Thai capital, drop by Lumpini Park in central Bangkok. There are an estimated 400 Asian water monitor lizards living there.