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Gila Monster

Heloderma suspectum
Gila Monster

Range

They are found in the Mojave, Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts in southwestern Utah, southern Nevada, southeastern California, western Arizona and southwestern New Mexico into Mexico.

Habitat

They live in desert and dry areas with gravel and sandy soils and bushy brush. They often hide under rocks and in burrows or holes.

Body Traits

The gila monster is a stout lizard that grows up to 2 feet long. It has a black face, feet and stripes across its body with pinkish orange to yellow stripes, spots and blotches down its body too. Its skin is bumpy. It has a poisonous bite that will make its prey sleepy and sluggish. It is usually not strong enough to kill a person.

Habits

They are active at night (nocturnal).

Diet

They eat small birds, rodents, eggs, and other lizards. In the winter, they live off the fat stored in the tail.

Predators

They have few predators except man.

Reproduction

They mate all summer. The female lays 3 - 5 eggs in sandy soils, burrows or under rocks in the fall or winter.

Gila Monster

Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Autarchoglossa
Family: Helodermatidae
Genus: Heloderma
Species: H. suspectum

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