There are hundreds of species of reptiles in Malaysia; the major groups being crocodiles, turtles, snakes, lizards and frogs. All reptiles are cold-blooded, which is why they warm themselves in the sun, and have bodies covered in dry horny scales. Some reptiles lay eggs while others give birth to live young.
All reptiles are vertebrates, animals with backbones. They are low to the ground and all except snakes and a few lizards have four legs.
The size of reptiles can range from the very tiniest of frogs that are smaller than a person's thumbnail to crocodiles that are several metres long. An astonishing fact of these species is their ability to glide from tree to tree or from a tree to the forest floor.
The Harlequin Monitor (Varanus dumerlii) is a fairly large monitor lizard that can demonstrate an incredible shyness when observed. The juvenile Harlequin Monitor tends to be more colourful than the adult. This is due to its bold orange-coloured head, which however disappears with growth . Its diet includes insects such as termites, ants, cockroaches and so on. This lizard inhabits Southern West Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo.
The rare Rough-necked Monitor (Varanus rudicollis) is characterised by its greatly enlarged, strongly keeled neck scales that are arranged in 10 - 12 longitunal series. It is dark with crossbands and reddish areas on the side of the neck. Reaching 120 cm in total, this arboreal monitor inhabits Southern West Malaysia and Borneo.
Great Anglehead Lizard
The Great Anglehead Lizard (Gonocephalus grandis) is amazing to observe in the wild because of its incredible camouflage when blending into the environment. A crest runs down the length of the male lizard's body, and some have spikes over the large dewlaps. This lizard is usually blue in colour, but can vary in different situations. This species occurs in the far south of Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra and in Borneo.
The Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), the largest of all the crocodile species, can be found in such extensive places that range from Eastern India, Southern China through Malaysia and the Philippines to Northern Australia and the Pacific Islands. This crocodile usually inhabits river estuaries and coastal regions including mangroves and remote beaches. It feeds on various vertebrates including fish, water birds and various mammals.
Five-banded Gliding Lizard
The Five-banded Gliding Lizard (Draco quinquefasciatus) is a medium sized lizard that inhabits lowland primary rainforest, often close to swamps or other water bodies. This species is easily identified by the five dark bands across the olive green dorsum and patagium. It often stays at the base of tree trunks to feed on ants, termites and other small insects. This species ranges from Southern Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia to Sumatra and Borneo.
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