Gila Monster

The Gila monster is a heavy, slow-moving venomous lizard.

It is the largest extant lizard native to North America north of the Mexican border. The name “Gila” refers to the Gila River Basin in the U.S. states of New Mexico and Arizona, where Gila monsters were once plentiful.

The body of these lizards is covered with bumpy looking scales which are called osteoderms; they are black and orange or pink in color and are actually small bones under the scales.

Gila monsters use their venom for defense rather than hunting. Rather than injecting venom through hollow fangs like venomous snakes, they have enlarged, grooved teeth in their lower jaw. When attacked, the Gila monster clamps down and doesn’t let go. Gilas chew into the flesh to make sure the venom is deposited.

Gila Monster Image Gallery