Reptile

Gila monster

Area: 
Northwestern Mexico and southwestern US
Habitat: 
Desert
Food: 
Birds’ eggs and chicks, rodents, frogs, lizards, insects, and worms
Size: 
Up to 21 ½ inches long
Babies: 
Hatchlings are only a few inches long, but get their own food and take care of themselves.
Part of the Gila monster’s scientific name is Heloderma, comes from ancient Greek words meaning “studded skin.”
Monster? Maybe Not!

 

 

The Gila (HEE-la) monster’s scary-sounding name comes mostly from the frightful fables people tell about it. It has been accused of spitting venom, stinging with its tongue, and even killing people with its poisonous breath! But while Gila monsters do have venom, they can’t spit or spray it.

 

If a predatorAn animal that hunts and kills other animals for its food. grabs a Gila monster, the lizardAnimal that has a long, scaly body, four legs (usually), and a long tail. It is cold-blooded and has a backbone. will turn and chomp down on it. Tiny grooves in the reptileA cold-blooded, air-breathing animal that has a backbone. Reptiles have dry, scaly skin. They move by either creeping on short legs or crawling on their bellies. Most reproduce by laying eggs.’s teeth help venom flow into the victim. The lizardAnimal that has a long, scaly body, four legs (usually), and a long tail. It is cold-blooded and has a backbone. may also chew to allow venom to move deeper into the wound.

 

They are slow-moving animals, so a hunting Gila monster flicks its tongue to “smell” preyNoun: An animal that is hunted as food by another animal. Verb: To attempt to take an animal for food., then sneaks up on it. These lizardAnimal that has a long, scaly body, four legs (usually), and a long tail. It is cold-blooded and has a backbone. have powerful jaws, so once the reptileA cold-blooded, air-breathing animal that has a backbone. Reptiles have dry, scaly skin. They move by either creeping on short legs or crawling on their bellies. Most reproduce by laying eggs. bites, preyNoun: An animal that is hunted as food by another animal. Verb: To attempt to take an animal for food. can’t easily escape. Gila monsters swallow their food whole (but will bite down to break open eggs).