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