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Gila Monster

on May 20, 2010

Design

Gila Monster

The Gila monster has the ability to consume large amounts of food at one time. This is necessary since it may not find food regularly in its desert environment. The Gila monster has powerful limbs for digging—a necessary design feature since this species is terrestrial and lives in dry desert regions, rather than in trees as many other lizards do.

Features

  • The Gila monster has short limbs; a short, flat tail; a heavy body; and black and pink, or yellow, scales.
  • Fat can be stored in the tail and abdomen of the Gila monster to be utilized during the winter.

Fun Facts

  • The Gila monster is one of two kinds of venomous lizards. The venom is secreted through grooves in the teeth, and is used mainly for defense against predators.
  • The Gila monster cannot jump.
  • The female of this species lays 3–5 eggs in sandy soil, burrows, or under rocks.

Created Kind Members

Beaded lizard

CLASS: Reptilia (reptiles)
ORDER: Squamata (amphisbaenians, lizards, and snakes)
FAMILY: Helodermatidae (venomous lizards)
GENUS/SPECIES: Heloderma suspectum

Size: Up to 2 ft (0.6 m)
Weight: 3–5 lbs (1.3–2.2 kg)
Original Diet: Plants
Present Diet: Birds, small mammals, lizards, and eggs
Habitat: Desert and semiarid, shrubby regions in the Mohave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan deserts of Southwest U.S. and into Mexico

Zoo Guide

Gila Monster

The Gila monster has the ability to consume large amounts of food at one time.

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