Gila Monster

Gila Monster

Scientific Name: Heloderma suspectum

Group: Lizards

Colour: Tan, Brown, Black, Grey, White

Life Span: 20-30 years

Predator: Humans, Coyotes, Birds Of Prey

Prey: Eggs, Small Mammals, Birds and Reptiles

Size: 30-60cm (12-24in)

Weight: 1.3-2.2kg (3-5lbs)

Top Speed: 24km/h (15mph)

Habitat: River banks and coastal forests

The gila monster is a large species of lizard that is natively found in parts of the southern United States and northern Mexico.The gila monster is also one of only two species of venomous lizard found in North America.The gila monster is found roaming through a range of habitats throughout the drier regions of central America. Gila monsters tend to inhabit areas that are more sheltered such as shrublands, woodlands, forests and semi-deserts.In the same way that a camel's hump, the tail of the gila monster acts as a fat storage facility in order to help the gila monster to survive more successfully in such arid conditions. When the gila monster eats and therefore replenishes its fat supply, the tail of the gila monster swells in size and becomes smaller again as its body uses up the fat.The gila monster has short powerful legs, and long claws which it mainly uses for digging. Gila monsters spend nearly all of their time in burrows underground, either ones they have dug themselves or more likely, those stolen from other animals.The gila monster is one of only two venomous lizard species that are found in North America. The gila monster has venom glands below its teeth on the bottom jaw which is released when the gila monster bites its prey.The gila monster then waits while its venom kills the animal, before finally eating it.The gila monster is a carnivorous animal and therefore has a purely animal-based diet. Bird and reptile eggs make up the majority of the gila monster's diet, along with insects, frogs, small mammals and reptiles, including smaller lizards. 

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