Gila Monster

GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION/RANGE: 
Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico

DIET: 
Small mammals, lizards, frogs, insects, birds and bird eggs, and carrion

HABITAT: 
Desert areas that are wet enough to support shrubs

DESCRIPTION: 
A bulky lizard with granular or bumpy skin and a thick tail. Coloration is black with contrasting pink, yellow or orange blotches.  

DID YOU KNOW? 
The venom of Gila monsters is being used to treat some patients with Type-2 Diabetes. Powerful jaws and lance-shaped teeth give it a painful bite. This lizard is slow and not aggressive if left alone.

MORE ABOUT OUR ANIMALS: 
We have a male Gila monster at the Reptile House in the Americas area of the Zoo.

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED IN CONSERVATION EFFORTS: 
Read about Gila monsters online and check out books from your local library. Become a member of the El Paso Zoological Society. Funds raised by the Society are used to support conservation efforts at the El Paso Zoo and in the wild.  

JUST FOR KIDS: 
Did you know that Gila monsters are the only venomous lizards in the world? There are two species, one that lives in the Southwestern United States and Mexico and another that lives only in Mexico. It is called the Mexican beaded lizard.