Gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum) are a species of venomous lizard closely related to the beaded lizards . The two lizards make up their own family, the Helodermatidae.
Gila monsters are North America's largest native lizard, growing to around 2 feet long. It lives mostly in Arizona and adjacent states, mostly active at night. The tail is used to store fat reserves. It spends most of its time underground in burrows. Fossils of this genus are said to date as far back as 20 million years or so.
The Gila monster eats mostly eggs, occasionally taking small animals. Because of this egg-eating habit, it is now believed the creature's neurotoxic venom may be for defensive purposes.
Gila monsters and humans Edit
Though it is venomous, the Gila monster is sluggish and poses little threat to humans. Nevertheless, it has gained fearsome reputation and is often killed because of fear. No fatalities have been reported in around 70 years. It can be kept in captivity, however this creature is only to be kept by experienced keepers and zoos.