The Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum) is a venomous lizard and a reptile.
The Gila Monster is a stocky, slow-moving lizard. It has dark black-brown scales wth pink, yellow, or orange markings. It has a rounded snout (nose). It has short legs and feet, with sharp claws.
It measures about 60 centimetres (23 inches) long.
The Gila Monster is native to America in the states of Nevada, California, and New Mexico, as well as northern Mexico. It prefers scrublands, dry areas, and deserts. It lives for most of its time underground in burrows.
It eats small rodents, birds, bird eggs, insects, and lizards. It can climb trees and cactus plants in search of food.
It hibernates in winter.
The Gila Monster is oviparous, laying eggs. The female lays 2-12 eggs, which hatch after about 9 months.
The Gila Monster lives for about 20 years in the wild.
[Location of photographs: Paris Zoo, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM