Victor Valley College Tropical Research Initiative
Herpetofauna of Timor-Leste
Phase VIII

Cristo Rei, Dili District

One of the most imposing symbols of Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste, is the 27 m Cristo Rei of Dili statue on the Fatucama Peninsula to the east of Dili. Similar to the Cristo Rei statue in Lisbon, Portugal, and the Christ the Redeemer stature in Rio de Janeiro, the Dili statue was a gift to the primarily Catholic population of 'East Timor' by the muslim Indonesian Government in 1996, when East Timor was still a province of Indonesia. The base of the statue is reached via 500 steps past the 12 Stations of the Cross. The woodlands and the rocks beneath the statue are a good herping location.

The 27m Cristo Rei statue east of Dili and the view back towards Dili from the Fatucama Peninsula
Photos Hinrich Kaiser

A Timor tree monitor (Varanus timorensis) was briefly sighted in the woodland beneath the statue and Snake-eyed skinks (Cryptoblepharus sp.) were captured on the rocks in the splash zone along the sea's edge but the Yellow-lipped sea kraits (Laticauda colubrina) known to reside below Cristo Rei evaded discovery.

A fleeting shot of a Timor tree monitor, Varanus timorensis
Photo: Jay Paris
Laca looking for sea kraits in the splash zone
Photo: Hinrich Kaiser


Snake-eyed skink
Cryptoblepharus sp.