Diet: Carnivore including eggs, newborn mammals, frogs, lizards and rodents
Weight: About 4 pounds
Size: 20 inches
Life Span: 20-30 years
The Gila Monster is the only venomous lizard native to the United States that lives in the Sonoran, Mojave, and Chihuahua desert. Their bite is not necessarily venomous to people as there was only one death from a Gila Monster bite since 1930. However, their bite is painful and cause symptoms of swelling, burning pain, vomiting and dizziness. The venom is produced in modified salivary glands at the end of its lower jaw and forced into two grooves in the teeth and chewed into the victim. The venom is thought to have evolved for defense rather than for hunting because of how slow they are.
The Gila Monster will spend about 95% of their lives in their burrows which are located in the rocky foothills. They are a slow moving lizard that have large stout bodies and short fat tails. They will use their tongue for smelling. Their scales contain little pearl-shaped bones for defense.