Gila Monster

Heloderma suspectum

Photo © by Robert Shantz

Photo by Robert Shantz at Duncan, Arizona. July 2001.

These large, slow lizards are fairly common across the Sonoran Desert ranging into adjacent deserts and into the lower elevations of Chaparral And Madrean habitats. They spend a lot of time below ground in their burrows, so it is always a treat for the nature lover to find one out and about.

The Gila Monster can deliver a painful and venomous bite if held or provoked, but they are rarely aggressive and prefer to be left alone. They seek prey on and under the soil taking things like eggs, birds, small mammals and lizards.

Helodermatidae -- Beaded Lizard Family

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Sonoran Desert Field Guide
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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 4 May 2009