Nothing to see here, just a monitor lizard withdrawing some cash for a night out ...

Earlier this month, when Bangkok resident Krittavit Tamchai popped in at an ATM after work, he was startled to find the machine already in use .... by a person-sized monitor lizard. "I was so shocked and didn't know what to do," Tamchai told Newsflare. While waiting for the reptile to conclude its business, Tamchai captured a short video of the bizarre incident.

The lizard appeared to be balancing on its tail with its hind legs clamped onto a small ledge and its front claws resting on the buttons. ''Eventually, I gave up and went to withdraw money somewhere else. There was no way I was wrestling an angry lizard to get to the machine," Tamchai added.

Water monitors (Varanus salvator) are common through Southeast Asia and the hefty reptiles are regularly spotted in ponds or waterways, plodding through parks or rummaging through discarded rubbish. Occasionally they'll wander onto public roads or pay a visit to a local home.

They are among the largest lizards in the world and mature adults can weigh over 20 kilograms. Monitors will typically flee if threatened (which is most likely what this ATM-climber was trying to do), but these chunky reptiles are armed with sharp claws, powerful jaws and muscular tails which they will use to defend themselves if escape is not an option. 

A security guard successfully ushered the monitor away from the ATM before rescue workers captured and relocated it.

Meanwhile in Suraburi, northeast of Bangkok, a second lizard was also spotted clambering on a cash machine:

This small monitor was clearly looking for an escape route – hopefully it was safely removed. 

People in Thailand have a complicated relationship with the lizards. The local word for a water monitor is hia, which doubles up as a curse word for bad or evil things. But while some despise the lizards, others associate a visit from a hia as a sign of good luck. “If a hia goes into someone’s room, they will become rich,” Tawee Somnamee, a caretaker at a local park told the Bangkok Post

Perhaps these monitor lizards owed people money ...


Top header image: Mika Hiltunen, Flickr