Slow but poisonous lizard

The Gila Monster is a poisonous lizard with a thick tail, short legs and rough skin that has striking yellow or orange spots distributed throughout its black body. It measures between 35 and 59 cm and weighs between 500 and 1000 grams.

This animal is typical of hot and arid areas. There are two subspecies: the reticulated Gila monster lives mainly in Sonora and northern Sinaloa (Mexico) and Arizona and the banded Gila monster which is found in Utah and Nevada.

Although poisonous, it is passive in nature, moving extremely slowly and unable to run. Its natural habitat is being affected by urban and agricultural development. Consequently, it is considered a near threatened species and hunting has been banned to prevent its disappearance.

Fun facts

  • Most of the time it is quiet inside burrows that it digs in the ground and can stay there for days and weeks.
  • During the summer, he goes out looking for a mate and overeats. The assimilated fat is stored in the tail and this allows it to survive hidden all winter.
  • Their diet is based on the consumption of eggs, small vertebrates, insects, worms and dead animals.
  • The poison glands are located in the lower jaw and have channels to the teeth that facilitate the entry of poison into the wound.
  • It has well-developed smell and taste, through which it detects the presence of its prey.
  • It is oviparous and can lay from 3 to 15 eggs that it must incubate for 30 to 45 days.
  • Because it is so slow and passive, it represents little threat to humans.