Gila Monster facts, diet, characteristics, habitat, venom, care

Here is the detailed information of Gila monster scientific name, category, average lifespan, characteristics, facts, habitat, diet, venom, reproduction, bite etc. Scroll this page down to get more details about this.

Gila Monster

Gila monster is the venomous species of lizard native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexican state of Sonora. It is a venomous lizard with the sluggish nature and it represents little threat to humans. This species appears closely related to the monitor lizard of Asia, Africa, and Australia.

What is Gila Monster

The venomous species is found in northwestern Mexico and the southwestern USA. The lizard has a bad repute in the reptile world, being described in local folklore as frightful and repulsive. It is even believed to be capable of killing humans with gusts of venomous breath, spitting venom, stinging with the tongue. The species have the two subspecies known as reticulated Gila monster and banded Gila monster.
Scientific Name Heloderma suspectum
Other Name
Category Lizard
Size 20-22 inches
Average Lifespan 20-30 years

Gila Monster Characteristics

This lizard species measures up to 10-14 inches in snout-to-vent length and the tail have the 20 percent of their body size. The lizards generally gain the weight about 350-700 g. These have colorful bead-like scales, known as osteoderms, covering their bodies give them their characteristic pink and black with orange or yellow coloration. The reptile has a massive, stout skull.

Gila Monster Care

The species is not an ‘easy’ pet doesn’t require much care. Rather, this lizard species needs regular vigilance to ensure that their needs are met. Sometimes you require the permission to keep the species at your house. Be sure about your state law related to keeping this species at your house.

Gila Monster Facts

  • The species gets its name Gila from the River Gila, located in Arizona.
  • There are only two poisonous lizard species exists and this is one of them.
  • The lizard species are the largest lizards found in the US.
  • These lizards are known to flip over while their jaws are held tightly onto the prey.
  • The lizard’s saliva is utilized for the produce the drug to cure Type 2 diabetes.

Gila Monster Habitat

The species typically live in oak woodland, succulent desert, and scrublands. These reptiles do not like to stay in open areas, seeking shelter in thickets, under rocks, and burrows located in moist regions. These lizards mostly found in the southern and western Arizona to Sonora.

Gila Monster Diet

This reptile species is carnivorous and diet mainly includes small birds, frogs, lizards, insects, and mammals. Its diet primarily contains bird eggs and other reptiles. They are also scavenger feeders, often feeding on carrion. The large preys are crushed to death, while the smaller ones are eaten alive, swallowed headfirst. It has the extremely good sense of smell by which it can locate and dig up chicken eggs buried 15 cm deep and accurately follow a trail made by a rolling egg.

Gila Monster Venom

These lizards have the strong venom to kill the small animals in a single bite. The venom of this species contains the mild neurotoxin, secreted from glands placed in the lower jaw. They use their poisonous saliva to kill their prey and also defend themselves from predators.

Gila Monster Reproduction

The species mate in the early summer months after coming out of hibernation. The males search the scent of the females by flick their tongues. The process of copulation lasts for 15-150 minutes. Then the females dig about 5 inches deep burrow to lay a clutch of 2-13 eggs and then leave to hatch. The incubation completed in the presence of sunlight’s heat.

Gila Monster Bite

It has an extremely strong bite, holding on painfully and stubbornly for several seconds. When this lizard bites, the little grooves from their teeth help spread the venom into the injury. It bites so hard to inflict a deeper wound and transmit more venom in victim’s body. The lizard may chew as well.

Gila Monster As Pet

The species do not have a good reputation as pets. In some states, you have to take special permits and license to pet them. You have to proper care them and don’t forget that as they become larger they will able to bite and inject venom.

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