Reptiles of Malaysia

picture of a green-crested lizard in malaysiaphoto of a green turtlegarden fence lizard found in malaysia

Malaysian Reptiles are Easy to Find

We can see the reptiles of Malaysia mostly everywhere in the country.

If we look around, even in modern buildings in the urban areas and cities, and in the gardens, we can probably find some of the more common species of reptiles, like the house geckos, lizards, snakes and skinks.

However, the uncommon or rarer species of reptiles are found in their natural habitats like the jungles and rain-forests, wetlands, mangroves and even agricultural land, plantations and secluded beaches.

But we can be sure that they are there, somewhere near us, and perhaps helping us get rid of some pests.


Best Ways to Find, Observe and Record Reptiles of Malaysia

The easiest way of course is to visit the various national parks, nature reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries of Malaysia.

image of a butterfly lizard in malaysia

These places, being unspoiled tropical rain-forests that are millions of years old with rivers, streams and numerous pools of water, are their natural habitat.

These locations are homes to a diverse group of reptiles, living in harmony together with the other protected animal kingdom species.

Of course do go there only to watch and observe them, or just take pictures, as these parks and sanctuaries prohibit disturbance, killing, collection and the like of the reptiles and other animals inside them.

image of a malaysian terrapin

We can also visit their other terrestrial habitats like swamplands, mangroves and river-mouths, and for marine turtles, of course the beaches, where we will probably be surprised with the amazing number of reptile species living in these habitats.

A wide variety of snakes, skinks, lizards, river turtles and crocodiles live along the river-banks, lakes and water areas.


Reptiles of Malaysia Species

The reptiles found in Malaysia include the following with rich diversities in their species:-


Characteristics of Reptiles

Just as a reminder, here are some general distinguishing features of reptiles:-

photo of a gliding lizard found in malaysia

  • They are "cold-blooded" (ectothermic) vertebrates, that is, they cannot produce their own body heat, and their body temperatures are regulated by the temperatures surrounding them.

  • They practise internal fertilisation whereby the males insert their copulatory organ into the cloaca of the females to deliver sperms.
  • Young babies, a miniature replica of the adults, emerge from eggs that have somewhat thick and leathery shells. However, there are some species that give birth directly to living young babies.
  • They have skins that are somewhat waterproof, often covered with scales.
  • Some are fully carnivorous, some omnivorous and others entirely herbivorous.


Why do some reptiles sometimes change their colors?

We can find some species of reptiles that can change their body color. They do this by altering the shape of their color pigment cells (chromatophores).

water monitor lizard of malaysia
But why do they do this?

Well it is said to function as a body temperature control, to heat or cool their body.

It is sometimes done as a way to camouflage themselves to look like their surroundings, especially when predators and humans lurk around.

Changing their colors is also a "subtle" way to tell their mates they are in the mood for real fun and it is that period of time (you know what I mean). It is a sort of putting make-up to look good to the opposite sex!

But it may also sometimes be a gesture of threat or warning to others to stay away from their mates or territory.


Help Preserve Our Reptiles

Well, like the tigers, rhinoceros, elephants and other animals, the reptiles of Malaysia are also in danger of depletion and for some species to eventual non-existence and extinction.

The rain-forests, mangrove swamps, and their other natural habitats are slowly disappearing, having to make way for plantations, farms, residential estates, and other development.

And it is not helped either by the traditional uses of their skins, meat and body parts for ornamental, culinary and dubious medicinal practices.

People must know that these beautiful creatures of God, the reptiles of Malaysia, play an important part in nature's delicate eco-systems. Killing them for unnecessary uses would unbalance nature's environment, that may affect humans too.

So be thoughtful and kind to them. And do help to preserve their natural habitats for their continued survival.

Enjoy the beauty of these lovely creatures.


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In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the living creatures that He has scattered through them: and He has Power to gather them together when He wills.

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