January 2005 — Fighting Monitors

BY BILQIS HIJJAS

  • Two water monitors (Varanus salvator) or biawak were witnessed mating in the reflective pool in the late afternoon on 10 January 2005. The pair were causing quite a ruckus, thrashing and rolling in the water, and were not at all disturbed by the barking dogs, or my mother and I loudly discussing their progress from close by. The smaller monitor was holding the muzzle of the larger one in its jaws — there was some blood evident, and at some points it wasn’t clear whether they were mating or fighting (see image left). The scene lasted for over an hour. There are a lot of biawak at Rimbun Dahan; although the dogs keep some check on the population, they can often be seen swimming lazily across the ponds and terrorising the troupes of monkeys. More information on the water monitor. 
  • There have been several sightings of wild boar (Sus scrofa) or babi hutan in the back garden — they come through a gap in the fence to root among the leaf litter in the early morning. Unfortunately gunshots have also been heard close by, resulting in one very dramatic incident. One morning, Jasri, the son of Jesmi, one of the gardeners, opened the front door of their house to see a babi hutan, with its muzzle and one leg covered in blood, staring at him through the doorway. Jasri promptly slammed the door shut, and Jesmi and Roslan (the other gardener) gave chase, but the animal disappeared through the fence. We have complained to the local police station about the danger of shooting in kampung areas and of having injured wild boar running about, but apparently we have no case.