Gila monster facts

    gila monster
  • The gila monster is an American lizard found in the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico.
  • The gila monster and the Mexican beaded lizard, both of which belong to the genus Heloderma, are the only known poisonous lizards of the New World.
  • The Gila monster emerges from hibernation in the first two months of the year and mates in May and June.
  • The Gila monster female will lay eggs in July or August, burying them in sand 5.0 inches below the surface.
  • The gila monster measures not more than 20 inches (51 cm) in length.
  • Its stout, pink and black body is covered with beadlike projections rather than scales. The blunt tail serves as a storage place for fat which provides nourishment when food is scarce or unobtainable. This is evidenced by the fact that the tail becomes noticeably thinner as the animal fasts.
  • Gila monsters appear to be sluggish but are surprisingly agile when annoyed. The vicious jaws fly open, a forked tongue is extruded, and the lizard hisses and snaps, endeavoring to imbed its fangs in the tormentor. Once the objective is reached, the lizard hangs on tenaciously. The venom injected is highly poison­ous and even fatal to smaller animals, such as rabbits, frogs, and mice. In spite of their viciousness, these reptiles become tame in captivity.
  • Though this reptile is venomous, its laggard movement means that it poses little threat to men.