Gila monster

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Gila Monster
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Helodermatidae
Genus: Heloderma
Species: H. suspectum
Binomial name
Heloderma suspectum
Cope, 1869

The Gila monster (pronounced /ˈhiːlə/) is a venomous desert lizard. The Gila monster’s name comes from the Gila River in Arizona, USA.

The Gila monster is heavy and slow for a lizard. It can grow up to 2 feet(60 cm) long. Its skin looks like beads and is black, pink, orange, and yellow. It looks a lot like the Mexican beaded lizard, which is its closest relative.

The Gila monster can bite quickly and hold on tightly, but it does not kill humans. It usually eats small rodents, young birds and eggs. The lizard chews its prey, injecting its venom (poison) into the animal through teeth in its lower jaw. The Gila monster can also store food in its tail.

In 2005 a medicine to treat diabetes was made from the Gila monster’s saliva. Some people who take it call it "lizard spit" as a joke.