Pet stores around the world are usually stocked to the brim with tokens of appreciation that human beings can give to their pets so that they, too, can partake of the holiday spirit.  But, for a select group in Bangkok, Thailand, pets are part of the reason for the celebration.

Photo Credit: Lauren DeCicca, Getty Images
Photo Credit: Lauren DeCicca, Getty Images
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In Bangkok, Thailand, monitor lizard caretakers and enthusiasts gather on Christmas Day to bond and share their love of the often controversial monitor lizard.  Many agree that the creatures are usually shy by nature and will stay away from human beings, unless they are raised by them.  However, they can be aggressive when provoked or hungry, especially in the wild.

There are approximately 80 species of monitor lizards known to exist on Earth at this time, and most  are considered venomous.  According to Singapore’s National Parks agency that venom usually has a “relatively mild effect on (human beings).”  And therein lies part of the reason for the controversy.  Nonetheless monitors have a devoted following.

They can range in size from just over half a foot to ten feet.  In many areas they are considered to be an important part of the ecosystem, controlling pests and serving as a food source to larger predators.  In most parts of North America, however, they are considered to be an invasive species, brought over either inadvertently from overseas cargo or irresponsibly discarded in the wild when “pets” become too big or unpredictable for their owners.

The event at the Somtum Khun Daeng (Som Tum Khun Dang) restaurant in Bangkok is not all fun and games.  There is an educational component too, and members of the group exchange lessons, tips, and education about care, feeding, and responsible caregiving.  There are Christmas costumes and, of course, gifts.

Photo Credit: Lauren DeCicca, Getty Images
Photo Credit: Lauren DeCicca, Getty Images
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And, just in case the reader is thinking about adopting a monitor...know that it is currently legal to own a monitor lizard in most of the United States.  Some states do, however, require a permit.  Another thing to consider is that it is not always easy to find veterinary care for the prehistoric species.

Owner discretion is advised if the creature gets free, as a video posted by The New York Post shows.  The video, incidentally, is also from Bangkok.  Did one of the Christmas revelers escape prior to the party?

33 Photos That Show Why You Wish You Were at this Monitor Lizard Christmas Party in Bangkok

Monitor lizard caretakers and enthusiasts gather on Christmas Day at a restaurant in Bangkok to share their love of the often controversial monitor lizard. Although many agree that they are usually shy by nature and will stay away from human beings – unless they are raised by them – they can be aggressive when provoked or hungry – especially in the wild. 

It is a day of fun, food and drink (for lizards and their human caregivers), and prizes.

There are approximately 80 species of monitor lizards known to exist on Earth at this time, and most are considered venomous. According to Singapore’s National Parks agency that venom usually has a “relatively mild effect on (human beings).”
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