The Dragons of Thailand

Dragon of ThailandDragon of Thailand

                                                                                                    Photos by Dannie

I worry that some of what I write about while living in Thailand will give you pause to visit. I do love it here and my wee tales are taken over seven years of living and many visits before. Keep in mind that I am a Southern country boy and roam the fields and forest. I see things most westerners are smart enough not to look for.

If you come here you will not be disappointed in the beauty, magic, food and people of the Land of Smiles.

I chuckle at the title of this post. I was going to name it, Beast of Thailand, but that brings to mind animals –mammals roaming the land. You will see few wild mammals unless you visit the zoo or natural reserves.

Normal life, living in the country, is made up of birds, ants, lizards, snakes and of course dogs and cats. The variety is endless; not all good but all amazing.

We have a small house in Pathum Thani—a suburb of Bangkok and the area is known to have some large water monitor lizards- the likes you thought only lived on the island of Komodo. The good news is they are very shy. The bad news is they are big and look prehistoric.

I was riding my motorcycle along the canals that border the rice fields near my house and two lizards came out onto the road. Of course I stopped and consider turning around but I had never seen anything so big- in the lizard department. At first I thought they might have been crocs (crocodiles) but from 20 feet away I could see they weren’t. Both were longer than the road was wide—at least 9 feet- and they only gave me a glance.  They simply crossed the road and into another canal. Afterwards, I wished I had brought my camera. At the time I was just relieved they took no real notice of me.

Since that encounter I have seen a number of them, but only in the 5 foot range. All either running away or just not noticing. I have never heard of anyone being hurt by these large beast.

The water monitor has two names is Thai—neither make any sense to me. One is the proper name which in translation means, body of money- body of gold. The other is a very vulgar term but when speaking of the lizards it is okay to say. I won’t tell you what it is—it could get you in real trouble if used at the wrong time.

One other quick story about these lizards. I was walking the dogs through the brush and bushes along a narrow cattle trail. We were going to walk the dikes of a nearby rice patty. The dogs were ranging ahead when I heard them bark and then I heard what sounded like a horse or at least something heavy was running and coming my way, fast. I had only my trusty bamboo walking stick and nowhere to run so I prepared to meet whatever was coming down the narrow path.

A large seven foot monitor lizard burst around the corner heading straight at me—woo hoo, says I. Actually those weren’t the exact words that came out of my mouth.

At about ten feet away the lizard saw me and veered off the path—thank goodness. No telling what I would have done to the poor beast if I fell on him in a dead faint. They are quite shy you know.

I will continue my world of Beast of Thailand on another post. Wait until I tell you about the snakes and ants I’ve encountered. I do hope you enjoy these true tales. The life here does give plenty of fodder for writing.

The photos were taken from my upstairs balcony. That monitor lizard was only 4 or five feet long and small of body.

17 responses to “The Dragons of Thailand

  1. Dannie, I’m sure these lizards are gentle beasts compared to you! I’d hate for them to get in your way!

    They look beautiful and I’ve never seen any so big – must be amazing to watch them, and they do look prehistoric – great descriptor.
    I’m not afraid of these animals, but I must admit I was none too pleased to encounter giant flying cockroaches on my first night in Bangkok in my hotel bathroom. I like insects, but roaches – EEEWWWWWWWWW! And especially as they were flying around me like giant bats while I was sitting on the toilet. Talk about feeling vulnerable! (Okay, maybe too much information)

    You make me laugh with your comical stories about scary things for Westerners. Great post, Dannie. Loving your blog – you’re a natural. 😉


    • Eden, I’m not sure how big the cockroaches were, but I was traumatized as a child when a flying cockroach attacked me. You know it’s a big bug when the wings sound like propellers on a B-17 bomber and you can hear the bug diving through the air for its attack.

    • Thank you, Eden. These lizards are so big, me getting in their way is not a problem. They’re shy– I’m not sure if gentle is the right word, lol. The giant cockroaches are no fun but they normally do stay underground in the sewers. One town I know tries to flush them out once a year– why? I don’t know. They come out and are everywhere. I’m sure the one you saw was trying to impress you eith its flying skills, lol.

  2. Dannie – again, really? Every post you write has me wondering at the adventure of your life. How cool is this? Dragons?

    Another reason, I love this post is because I want to go to the Islands of Galapagos sometime – I love the “monsters” there as well.

    Keep on writing, Dannie – often, so we get to have these adventures, too.

    • Kathy. The Galapagos is one place I would like to visit too. At least the iguanas are a reasonable size. I’m really happy you like my stories! I started this blog wondering if anyone would read it or enjoy it. I do like writing about things I’ve done over here. It helps me save the memories.

  3. Another excellent true story from the life of Dannie C. Hill. I’ve always been fascinated by the big lizards. My brother used to own a monitor lizard, which made for quite an interesting pet, but while it had a very large dwelling it didn’t do well in captivity. Sadly, it only lived a couple of years. Nowadays, I prefer to see these exotic creatures living freely in the wild where they belong. I can only imagine what it’s like seeing these dragons roaming freely from your balcony. That’s quite a big difference from seeing a little green lizard scurrying across the sidewalk.


    • I’m glad you like this, Rob. I do enjoy seeing them near the canals and it always amazes me something that big can live here, free. Inside the house we– and everyone else– has the small geckos. I like them because they eat mosquitos. They never get into out food or cause a problem. It’s kind of like have lots of pet lizards without having to take care of them.

  4. OH this is it Dannie! I’ll never want to go to Thailand again! If you want to meet me, you’ve got to come back to the U.S.!

    Those are some HuGE lizards that totally put Mushu to shame!

    Love your tales. You’re really something you know, going around on your motorcycle in the countryside of Thailand . . .

    • You’ll love Thailand. There is so much to do and unless you’re walking through the bushes with me you won’t see any of these lizards. Plus, I’m the one who always gets into trouble so you’ll be safe, lol. I’m ready for the rainy season to be over so I can take some longer trips on my bike!

  5. A fascinating blog, Dannie. We’ll be visiting Thailand in October — VISITING. I so admire someone who has the courage to take off to a foreign country, to experience the REAL country by living there.

    • Thank you for reading my post, Jan! Visiting does give you an idea of what it might be like to live here. The people ar great and the food comes in such a variety. I’m happy you like my post. I’ve been a bit behind these past few weeks because of the flooding and trying to get my lastest book ready to publish, but I’ll be back at it in a few days. Where did you go on your visit here?

      And thank you so much for subscribing. I hope you’ll enjoy my little adventure and laugh at the predicaments I get into. I never thought I would enjoy writing about things I do and that people would enjoy reading them. But I am always getting into something when I step outside, lol.

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