About Gila Monster

At a length of up to two feet (0.6 metres) and a maximum weight exceeding five pounds (2.3 kilograms), the venomous Gila monster (pronounced HEE-luh) is the largest lizard native to the United States.

Easily identified by their black bodies marked with dramatic patterns of pink, orange, or yellow, Gilas are found in the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan deserts of the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico. They take their name from Arizona's Gila River basin, where they were first discovered.

Fast Facts 

Type: Carnivore

Diet: 20 to 30 years

Average life span in captivity: 20 in (50 cm)

Size: 4 lbs (1.8 kg)

Weight: Lounge

Group name: Threatened

Did you know? A synthetic version of a protein found in Gila saliva is used as a treatment for diabetes in humans.


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