Fearsome Looking Gila Monsters

Best Buddies

These Gila Monsters may look ferocious, but they are really shy, slow moving  fellows who would rather avoid human contact.  Since they move rather sluggishly so aren’t much of a threat to humans.  Although the only poisonous lizard in the United States, an individual would have to really bother them or handle them to receive a bite.  The main problem with being bit is that their jaw locks down and can’t be separated so the poison is slowly released.

However, it has earned a fearsome reputation and is sometimes killed by hikers and homeowners despite
being protected by Arizona state law.  Cars can also kill them as we found out recently when we found a young dead one at the side of our entrance driveway at our Bed & Breakfast in the foothills of the Rincon Mountains near Saguaro National Park East.

Years ago, our  miniature poodle had a tendency to tease a rather large one that burrowed under a palo verde tree on our property.  The Gila Monster must have grazed our pet’s lower lip because she began to foam at the mouth.  Since we knew she had a tendency to tease the lizard, we rinsed out her mouth with a water hose, and she survived to live through an additional attack at a later date by coyotes.  One tough dog!


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