Desert Animals

Gila Monster
Gila Monster
Class: Reptilia: Reptiles Diet: Small mammals, eggs
Order: Squamata: Lizards and Snakes
Size: body:45 - 61 cm (17 3/4 - 24 in)
Family: Helodermatidae: Gila Monster Conservation Status: Near-threatened
Scientific Name: Heloderma suspectum Habitat: arid and semiarid areas with some vegetation
Range: Southwestern U.S.A.: Southern Utah, Arizona to New Mexico; Mexico

Size of Gila MonsterThis formidable, heavy-bodied lizard has a short, usually stout tail, in which it can store fat for use in periods of food shortage. It is gaudily patterned and has brightly colored beadlike scales on its back. The gila lives on the ground and shelters under rocks or in a burrow, which it digs itself or takes over from another animal. It is primarily nocturnal but may emerge during the day in spring. The two members of the gila monster family are the only venomous lizards. The venom is produced in glands in the lower jaw and enters the mouth via grooved teeth at the front of the lower jaw; it flows into the victim as the lizard chews. The gila also eats the eggs of birds and reptiles. Gila monsters mate in the summer, and the female lays 3 to 5 eggs some time later, in the autumn or winter.

Range of Gila Monster
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