DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT
Gila monster lives in the Southwest of the United States and Northwest Mexico. It chooses dry desert areas with thickets and the foot of rocky mountains up to 1500 m above sea level.
Gila monster spends much of his time in hiding. Hibernates during the cool winter months. Pretty slow, but can climb trees and cactuses. Adult specimens reach as many as 58 cm in body length and over 2 kg in weight.
Gila monster eats eggs, small birds, rodents, reptiles, sometimes carrion. The young gila is very voracious. A single meal can constitute up to 50% of her body weight. This huge appetite allows a Gila monster to create a surplus – it can store fat in its tail.
The female lays up to 12 eggs in a dug hole. The young hatch in the spring of the following year. Life excpectancy is over 20 years.
GOOD TO KNOW
The Reticulate Gila Monster is a poisonous lizard. Its toxin is being researched because it contains a protein that may be helpful in treating type 2 diabetes.
- Latin name: Heloderma suspectum suspectum
- IUCN Red List – NT- Near Threatened
- CITES – Appendix II
- EEP – European Endangered Species Programme