Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A 'Thalagoya' S, 'Udumbu' T - Varanus bengalensis bengalensis, at the Diyatha Uyana, Malabe, Sri Lanka.

“…Thalagoya (1681). Ever since Robert Knox, English writers have often described the thalagoya in relation to the kabaragoya merely because these lizards are by far the largest to be found on the island. As there are many references to the word in English literature pertaining to Sri Lanka, I have passed them on to the OED as historical evidence to enable the editors to determine whether the word merits an entry in the third edition. My suggested definition (which should conform to the revised definition of kabaragoya): "In Sri Lanka, the name given to the land monitor, Varanus bengalensis bengalensis."
The reference by Knox (1681:31) reads: "There is the Tolla guion very much like the former, which is eaten, and reckoned excellent meat. The Chingulays say it is the best sort of flesh; and for this reason, That if you eat other flesh at the same time you eat of this, and have occasion to vomit, you will never vomit out this tho you vomit all the other. This creature eats not carrion, but only lives on herbs; is less of size than the kobbera guion, and blackish, lives in hollow Trees and holes in the Humbosses: And I suppose is the same with that which in the West Indies they call the Guiana."