Cyclone Yaas: Video of monitor lizard casually strolling through waterlogged Indian street goes viral

·2-min read
<p>Screengrab from a video of a lizard strolling through a street in India. </p> (Twitter)

Screengrab from a video of a lizard strolling through a street in India.

(Twitter)

A video of a monitor lizard casually strolling through a waterlogged street in the Indian state of West Bengal has gone viral after a powerful cyclone hit eastern India on Wednesday.

The video is from a street in Kolkata, capital of West Bengal, and has been shared multiple times on Twitter and Facebook.

Indian forest service officer Praveen Angusamy also shared the video, saying the lizard was spotted after heavy rains following cyclone Yaas. He also urged the people to inform the forest department or the district administration if they see any wildlife.

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The authenticity of the video has not yet been confirmed and it’s not immediately clear which neighbourhood the lizard was spotted in.

Heavy rains lashed parts of India and neighbouring Bangladesh on Wednesday as cyclone Yaas made landfall on India’s eastern coast. This is the second major storm to hit the country in less than 10 days after cyclone Tauktae caused widespread damage when it hit the country’s western coast.

Cyclone Yaas damaged homes and triggered mass evacuations at a time when India is trying to deal with a brutal second wave of Covid-19. At least five people — four in the state of Odisha and one in West Bengal — have been reported dead.

The cyclone has weakened to a deep depression and the India Meteorological Department has predicted heavy rainfall over Odisha and the state of Chhattisgarh on Thursday.

All four species of monitor lizards in India are protected under India’s Wildlife (Protection) Act. This includes the Bengal Monitor, Common Water Monitor, Yellow Monitor, and Desert Monitor.

Despite this, the lizards are poached for their meat and skin which are used to make craft drums and sandals, according to Wildlife SOS, an organisation that works to protect wildlife in India. Dried genitals of monitor lizards are often passed off as a rare plant which is believed to bring good luck to its bearers and is also used in occult practises, it said.

The organisation said these lizards are non-venomous and non-poisonous. They are mostly non-offensive, but can bite when threatened or provoked, it said.

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