Gila Monster Natural History
Can grow up to 60 cm (2 ft) long, and weight up to 2.25 kg (5 lb).
Habitat and Distribution
The Gila monster lizard is native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.
Lifespan in captivity is up to 30 years, and in the wild they may live up to 20 years.
Diet Primarily feeds on bird and reptile eggs, and occasionally upon small birds and mammals.
Frogs, lizards, insects and carrion are also consumed.
Groups and Breeding
The mating season runs from May-June, and 2-12 eggs are laid in July-August.
They are incubated for 9 months, and hatch around April-May the following year.
The hatchlings are about 16cm (6in) long, and are able to bite and inject venom upon hatching.
They reach sexual maturity in 3-5 years.
The Gila monster is often killed by hikers and homeowners.
There are two subspecies:
Reticulate Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum suspectum) [Southern]
Banded Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum cinctum) [Northern]
The Gila monster is a species of venomous lizard, one of only two known species of venomous lizard in North America the other is the Mexican Beaded Lizard.
The Gila Monster During Your Day Out in Kent
Our two gila monsters live together and are on display in the reptile house.