5-foot reptile frightens Badjaos off Paseo park PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 09 August 2012 14:12

A five-foot-long reptile having sharp, snake-like teeth, powerful tails and claws that look like the sinister pendants of voodoo necklaces was rescued by terrified Badjaos in the sea barely few meters from Paseo del Mar yesterday morning.

Upon hearing the information, Mayor Celso Lobregat rushed to Paseo del Mar and took custody of the reptile with well-developed limbs, which was later identified as a monitor lizard locally known as iguana, belonging to Veranus species.

Lobregat immediately called up City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Reynaldo Gonzales to take care of the lizard, which was believed to have escaped from a cage considering that it appeared domesticated and having a string.

The lizard was later taken to City Hall where Lobregat turned it over to an official from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for proper protection.

Earlier on, Amilpasa Bandaying, the mayor’s executive assistant on Muslim Affairs, who used to go to Paseo for fishing as a hobby every morning, said he observed the Badjaos were all terrified to see the reptile that they scampered for safety on board their vintas.

Curious, Bandaying inquired from the sea urchins what had terrified them. The Badjaos responded by pointing altogether to the reptile creeping like a snake in the sea. He then asked the men among the Badjaos to rescue and bring the iguana to the land and informed the mayor about.

Monitor lizards could run up to 18 miles per hour on land and swim under water for an hour at a time. They are carnivorous, although some species like Varanusbitatawa, Varanusmabitang and Varanusolivaceus are also known to eat fruit. They are oviparous, laying from seven to 37 eggs, which they often cover with soil or protect in a hollow tree stump. — Vic Larato