Monitor lizard spotted swimming at Jurong East Swimming Complex

The reptile was captured on video swimming in the lazy river at Jurong East Swimming Complex.
The reptile was captured on video swimming in the lazy river at Jurong East Swimming Complex.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK VIDEO/ENUL UHIBUKKI

SINGAPORE - A monitor lizard was caught on video swimming at Jurong East Swimming Complex on Monday (Feb 13) afternoon.

In a 41-second video posted on Facebook on Tuesday (Feb 14) by user Enul Uhibukki, the reptile is shown slithering in the water in what appears to be the lazy river.

He mistakes it for a rat at first, but is corrected by other Facebook users.

The clip, which has been shared nearly 3,000 times, shows bystanders who appear to be staff standing by the sides of the pool looking at the reptile.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times on Wednesday (Feb 15), Mr Ramasess Ramakrishnan, centre manager for Jurong East Sports Centre, said the centre was investigating the matter and will ensure its facilities "continue to be safe for our patrons". 

“We assure everyone that their safety is our top priority and the hygiene level at our pools strictly adhere to the required standards," he said.

The lizard, which was about a metre long, was seen at about 3pm on Monday (Feb 13), the sports centre said in its replies to ST.

The complex was closed for its weekly pool maintenance that day, and the Sports Centre's pest control vendor captured the monitor lizard. It was released back into the wild.

The pool was cleaned and water quality tests run to ensure it was fit for visitors the next day.

The viral video has been reproduced on Facebook and Twitter by other users.

Ms Anbarasi Boopal, deputy chief executive of wildlife rescue group Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (Acres), told ST on Wednesday that monitor lizards are commonly found even in urban areas, where there are drains and networks of canals.

"It may have entered the pool by mistake and was just trying to get out," she said.

This is not the first time a wild animal has been spotted in a pool. They have been known to take a dip to cool off, or end up in pools because they got lost while foraging for food, according to previous reports quoting Acres.

In 2014, snakes were found swimming in two swimming pools - one at Toa Payoh Swimming Complex and another at a pool in a Pasir Ris condominium.

In 2012, a monitor lizard was sighted swimming at a pool in Changi Beach Club.