One of the most startling experiences a tourist in Bangkok can have is turning the corner and coming face to face with a young elephant. However, while the elephants are generally brought from upcountry as a money-making gimmick, Bangkok has its own rather startling native wildlife. The canals and lakes of the capital are home to water monitors, two-meter long cousins of the infamous Komodo dragon. Bangkok was once an aquatic city where all life was along rivers and canals, and these long-time residents have simply refused to relocate as the roads and skyscrapers have moved in. It’s common to see the overgrown lizards basking on the grass in Lumphini Park, or paddling through the scummy water of a canal. This one, however, was encountered unexpectedly on a sidewalk along a busy road in Central Bangkok- it flicked its purple tongue, then disappeared into a crack in the pavement.