Yesterday, the fourth day in my new home, I opened my front door and found an enormous monitor lizard, or biawak. I had my camera in hand but by the time I exclaimed and pulled it out of the pouch, the creature had sped off around the house. Its long nails clacked and clattered on the cement as it ran. It was easily over three feet long (that’s meter in Bahasa Malaysia) from nose to tail. I followed around but it had disappeared into the jungle that forms the back edge of my property. I’m not sure what kind of Monitor it was, though I caught a rerun of Animal Planet at the airport, with that crazy Australian, and he was manhandling what looks like the same kind. Monitor lizards are all Varanus spp. Here’s a fan page with lots of neat pictures.

Biawak II: Return of Biawak

Biawak III: Behold, the Biawak


Published by bingregory

Official organ of an American Muslim in Malaysian Borneo, featuring plants, pantuns and pictures from the Malay archipelago. Oversharing since 2002.

Join the Conversation


  1. One sneaked into my house once. Along with like snakes and stuff.

    Scary. But I lived with an iguana for a year and everyone I would play with it, I’d end up looking like a suicide victim because their nails are VERY sharp.

    And did you know their saliva is highly poisonous!! (monitors)I have watched too many episodes of crazy Australian man.

    Otherwise known as Steve Irwin 🙂

  2. Suresh – a small joke. I work in construction, and getting used to all the metric units has been a chore. I’m just getting to the point where I can visualize what 200mm vs. 300mm vs. 400mm should look like with out first crunching it back into inches and feet. But at first the metric system felt a bit like learning a foreign language.

  3. When I was a kid, I liked to play this game when I was bored:

    Repeat the words Buaya biawak, buaya biawak, buaya biawak, buaya biawak, buaya biawak, buaya biawak continuously. Try it.

  4. Playing that game makes you sound like a Kelantan man.

    There are many dangerous things behind my house…pythons, cobras, stray dogs, biawak…

    And mosquitos!

    Say, been to the Ramadhan Bazaar, Mr. Bin Gregory?

  5. I just went yesterday afternoon! But I wasn’t that impressed though… The location is very inconvenient, so far removed from everything. And they way the have the hawkers all lined up in one row – by the time I had walked a quarter of the way it all seemed just the same. I guess last year the traffic was so bad at Satok that they had to move it, but I don’t think this is an improvement. The vendors can’t possibly be happy about it. For myself, I’ll just stick to Satok and Semarak markets. Even with the traffic, it is far more convenient.

  6. I stumbled to this site by accident, and I really liked it. Its laid back yet entertaining and informative.
    Keep it up everyone.

  7. My grandmother used to have a buaya as a pet and we would feed it late evening. It’s been quite sometime since I last saw a biawak. Maybe I should balik kampung once in a while. 😎

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply