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16 Gila Monster Facts for Kids

navajocodetalkersadmin on January 4, 2015 - 4:00 pm in Fun Facts for Kids

The Gila Monster is a huge lizard that many might see as a real life dragon. But these creatures are not dragons at all. Here, we will tell you more about the lumbering, venomous Gila Monsters that call parts of Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and California their home. Some things about these animals may very well surprise you.

1. Gila Monsters prefer to live in deserts and desert grasslands.

2. You can identify Gila Monsters by their black color with various patterns of bright colors like orange, pink, or even yellow.

3. Instead of having scales on their skin, Gila Monsters have beads. The Mexican Beaded Lizard, another venomous lizard, also has this unique type of skin.

4. These lizards are named after the Gila River Basin in Arizona, the place they were first discovered.

5. Measuring in at around 2 feet long and between 3 and 5 pounds, Gila Monsters are the largest species of land lizard in the United States.

6. When a Gila Monster bites a victim or prey, they must chew to release the venom from their mouth into the wound. No human has ever died from the bite of a Gila Monster.

7. Unbelievably, these creatures spend the vast majority of their lives (over 90% of the time) underground.

8. Gila Monsters are hatched from eggs. Each female will lay from 2 to a dozen eggs in their nests.

9. Like snakes, Gila Monsters flick their tongues in and out of their mouths. This helps the lizard to smell things in the air around it.

10. These animals can go months between meals because of their very slow metabolism. They have fat stores in their large tails.

11. In the wild, Gila Monsters will eat frogs, other lizards, eggs, bugs, other dead animals (carrion), birds, and other small mammals found in the desert.

12. Although it is not entirely known how long these lizards live in the wild, some of them have lived up to 35 years in captivity.

13. A chemical compound found in Gila Monster venom is actually being studied for use in a drug that is meant to treat diabetes.

14. Even though it is not an endangered species, it is illegal to capture or kill a Gila Monster.

15. These creatures prefer to be alone and are very territorial.

16. Members of the Apache tribe felt that just the breath of Gila Monsters could cause death.

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