sailfin lizard on siargao island

Sailfin Lizard in the Treetops!

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This sailfin lizard is easily the largest we’ve seen around our property here on Siargao island in the Philippines. And it showed up in such an unexpected spot…

Hearing some rustling leaves and seeing some movement in a molave tree about forty-five meters away, I trained my binoculars on the treetop some twenty meters above ground level. Seeing a large shape among the greenery I was fully expecting to see a Serpent eagle, a Black-faced Coucal, an Asian Koel or even a Mindanao Hornbill in one of their favorite spots. However, this large sailfin lizard soon showed its head and then its very long tail became apparent among the molave branches.

sailfin lizard on siargao island
Being omnivores, I’m not really sure what it was feeding upon in that tall tree. My favorite visiting birds perhaps!

The Philippine pygmy squirrels have been back recently and I saw three in this location just the other morning right after sunrise. They’re not such a common sight so I sure hope they weren’t on the menu! Most likely though, this sailfin lizard was just feeding on the treetop leaves, flowers and insects and finding a safe open space to catch the morning sun (and avoid snakes).

 

sailfin lizard on siargao island

As we’ve mentioned before the only species of sailfin lizard remaining in the Philippines seems to be Hydrosaurus pustulatus. It would be great to see if we can somehow confirm this sailfin lizard is that species and not Hydrosaurus amboinensis which used to be found on Mindanao. One thing that interests me is the length of this individual which, with tail, is obviously well over two meters long.

sailfin lizard on siargao island

sailfin lizard on siargao island

It was pretty cool to have an extended view of this very large sailfin lizard this morning. They often scurry away quickly when sighted but being comfortable and protected so high above ground, we were lucky to get some good photographs today.

sailfin lizard on siargao island

 

Stay tuned and we’ll be sure and update you on any future sailfin lizard sightings here on Siargao island in the Philippines.

 


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