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4-Feet-long monitor lizard rescued

                                                                                                                     DNA, Mumbai, 21st April, 2013

Monitor lizards, also known as Ghorpad in Marathi, are becoming a regular sight at Mulund’s Yogi Hills and BARC colony areas. On Saturday, animal rescuers rescued a 4 feet long monitor lizard from the colony after few morning walkers found it wandering into areas where the residents stay.

The area incidentally shares boundaries with the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivli.  

“We saw a lizard and mistook it for a baby crocodile due to its appearance. It crawled away as soon as we tried to reach it and hid behind the trees. We then called the wildlife rescuers so they could release it in back into the forest or it would have been attacked by other animals,” said Rakesh Shetty, a resident of Mulund Colony.

According to Pawan Sharma, wildlife rescuer and founder of RAWW, an NGO, the lizards are becoming common sights in the colonies and human habitats across Mulund and Thane that share boundaries with the forest.

“Due to encroachments, they enter human habitats. Though they won’t attack humans upfront, if chased, they can bite. Since their saliva carries a certain kind of bacteria, it can prove fatal for humans as the bitten part can become gangrenous. They are also known to attack with their tails which can cause paralysis in humans,” said Sharma, who has rescued around 45 such lizards in the past year from the area and its surrounding parts.  

These lizards are common in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and they live on beetles, ground dwelling birds and occasionally climb trees to feed on eggs. They come under Schedule I of the the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, which provides absolute protection to the species.

Legend has it that an adult monitor lizard was also used by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj for climbing the sides of a fort’s wall as they are said to have a firm grip and can climb any surface without any support or efforts