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The gila monster is a reptile native to the USA. More specifically, they are found in the Mojave, Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts in the US. They are found in northwest Mexico as well.

Appearance[]

Gila monsters are black, patterned along their backs with contrasting pink or orange. In the southern subspecies, the reticulated Gila monster, the light markings are broken up to form a reticulated pattern. In the northern subspecies, the banded Gila monster, the light markings generally form an unbroken band across the back.

Diet[]

Gila monsters most often raid nests to prey on small birds and eggs. They also catch small mammals, lizards, frogs, insects and carrion. They can eat up to one-third of their body weight in one meal.

Lifespan[]

They normally live 20 or more years in human care, though they can live much longer than that.

Life[]

Gila monsters mate in the spring, which is also when food is most abundant. In late April to early June, courtship and male-to-male combat takes place. Females lay two to 12 leathery eggs that spend the winter below ground and hatch the next spring after 120 to 150 days.

Status[]

They are near threatened.

Fun Facts[]

  • They store fat in their tails and bodies.
  • They are one of the few venomous lizards.
  • They have a homerange of around 1 square mile.
  • Hatchlings are about 6 inches long.
  • The oldest ever gila monster was 36 years old.

Resources[]

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/g/gila-monster/

https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/gila-monster

https://www.bioexpedition.com/gila-monster/

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