A Hydrosaurus Sailfin Lizard
This sailfin lizard of the genus Hydrosaurus paused just long enough outside of our house this afternoon for me to get a few pictures.
Actually, its’s been lurking around for some time but has been hard to photograph until now. When caught being observed the sailfin lizard freezes for a moment before bolting off back into the jungle. Being omniverous it eats fruit, leaves, insects, crustaceans and so on. I suspect this particular sailfin lizard has also been eating eggs laid by our free-range Muscovy ducks.
There are two species of sailfin lizard present in the Philippines:
Hydrosaurus pustulatus Philippine sailfin lizard
Hydrosaurus amboinensis Amboina sailfin lizard
The sailfin lizard population in the south of the Philippines (where Siargao is located) seem mostly to be the Amboina species. They attain a greater size than the Philippine sailfin lizards and can reach lengths over a meter while the Philippine sailfin lizard is somewhat shorter. I’ve had the chance to observe this particular lizard over the past week or so and would say it’s definitely over one meter long.
We often see these sailfin lizards in their preferred habitat when we’re out on our river tours . They run speedily and gracefully over water for short distances thanks to their large webbed feet. When startled on land their running style seems awkward and, to me at least, somewhat comical.
Drop by sometime: there’s a good chance you’ll be able to see a sailfin lizard, too!