the Philippines


Manila, Luzon




More Information




Mga Tokó in the houses


Mga Tokó, as the people in de Visayas call the small lizards,

are living in houses and other buildings. The  Tokó can be seen

as very useful, because they feed their selves with catching mosquitoes in the houses and other buildings.Though many Filipinos don't like these  little creatures, like many people  don't like spiders, these 'mga toko' are in fact innocent.  

The mga toko stick with their feet to ceilings and walls. They never come down and even disappear quickly if a human being is coming near.

Picture right: ©  Nico van der Drift



The "Water Monitor" is the largest lizard found in the Philippines, growing up to  2 1/2  meters. It is locally known as "bayawak". The Water Monitor eats a variety of small animals, insects, fish, mollusks and carrion. 

Varanus salvator cumingi

Picture:© D. Bennett

Different species of lizards

In tropical countries like the Philippines, live different species of Lizards. One of the two important species is the "Mindanao Water Monitor", the "Varanus salvator cumingi".  Because of its striking skin, this varanus has been hunted for decennia. The skin is obtained for leather manufacturers in Asia and Europe. 

The Water Monitor prefers living near fresh or salty water, which explains the name. The Water Monitors are very good swimmers.


The Varanus Salvador

The Varanus  Salvador is found in Southern Asia (India, Bangla Desh and in the foothills of the Himalayas ), in eastern Asia ( southern China) and in Southeast Asia. Though the government in the Philippines put a ban on reptile  exports, this lizard is still obtained for leather manufacturers in Asia and Europe.

Map: The Varanus Salvador in

South and Southeast Asia