Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Reptilia
Order Squamata
Genus Chelydra
Family Helodermatidae
Scientific Name Heloderma suspectum
Gila Monster
Gila Monster

Gila Monster Description

  • Gila monster is the only venomous lizard endemic to the United States.
  • It is a very slow-moving lazy animal.
  • Gila monsters are the largest living lizards of North America.
  • Monsters fancy playing in water especially in hot days of summer.
  • They will live in underground burrows 90% of their daytime.
  • Gila monsters eat only 5 – 9 times in a year.
  • Thanks to their acute sense of smell which allows the monster to locate chicken eggs hidden 15 cm (6 in) deep down the ground.
  • The Gila monsters’ venom is not fatal to adult humans.
  • They spend the hottest hours in shade.

Size & Weight

Adults:

  • SNOUT-TO-VENT-LENGTH: 26 to 36 cm (10 to 14 in)
  • WEIGHT: 350 to 700 g (0.77 to 1.54 lb)

Largest Specimen

  • LENGTH: 51 to 56 cm (20 to 22 in)
  • WEIGHT: 2,300 g (5.1 lb)

Hatchlings

  • LENGTH: 16 cm (6.3 in)

Habitat

Oak woodland, burrows, succulent desert, thickets, scrublands

Range

Southwestern United States, Mexico, New Mexico, Nevada, Sonora, Utah, Arizona, California

Diet

Insects, birds, carrion, mammals, lizards, frogs, reptile eggs

Reproduction

5 – 12 eggs

Mating Season

May and June

Egg-laying Period

July/August

Sexual Maturity

3 – 5 years

Lifespan

  • 20 years (wild)
  • 30 years (captivity)

Speed

18 km/h (11 mph)

Predators

Coyotes, raptors

Behavior

Diurnal

Conservation Status

Near Threatened