gila monster

Unlike snakes which use hollow upper teeth (fangs), the Gila monster injects venom into its victim through grooves in the teeth of its lower jaw. The teeth are loosely anchored, which allows them to be broken off and replaced throughout their lives. The Gila monster produces only small quantities of its neurotoxic venom, which is secreted into the lizard's saliva. By chewing its prey, however, it tries to put as much of the venom into the bloodstream of its victim as possible. The Gila monster's bite is normally not fatal to humans (there are no confirmed reports of fatalities), but it can bite quickly and holds on tenaciously.

The Gila Monster, Heloderma suspectum, is a species of venomous lizard native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It is a heavy, slow moving lizard, up to 60 cm (2 feet) long, and is the only venomous lizard native to the United States. Its skin has the appearance of black, pink, orange, and yellow beads, laid down in intricate patterns. These beads are small bony plates that form scales, and are known as osteoderms. It is one of only two species of venomous lizard, the other being its close relative the Mexican beaded lizard.


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Gila Monster".