Sri Lanka is crawling with monitor lizards! Imagine our surprise when we first came across a 2-meter (6 ft) Jurassic beast on our way to Mirissa’s secret beach. This was the biggest and fattest lizard we had ever stumbled upon and, lucky for us, the grand opening for more lizards to come. From that point on, we’ve seen them everywhere.
Huge water monitors hide under fallen palm fronds along the beaches, swim across the mangrove lagoons or bask in the sun along rivers and lakes. Their smaller land monitor cousins often waddle through town foraging through people’s back yards and fighting dogs, cows, egrets, monkeys and cats for anything edible. Seeing these fascinating creatures move so effortlessly through any terrain always makes me stop in my tracks and gawk at them in awe.