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Gila Monster

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Gila Monster Facts

Kingdom:
Five groups that classify all living things
Animalia
Phylum:
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
Chordata
Class:
A group of animals within a pylum
Reptilia
Order:
A group of animals within a class
Squamata
Family:
A group of animals within an order
Helodermatidae
Genus:
A group of animals within a family
Heloderma
Scientific Name:
Comprised of the genus followed by the species
Heloderma Suspectum
Type:
The animal group that the species belongs to
Reptile
Diet:
What kind of foods the animal eats
Carnivore
Size:
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
30-60cm (12-24in)
Weight:
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
1.3-2.2kg (3-5lbs)
Top Speed:
The fastest recorded speed of the animal
24km/h (15mph)
Life Span:
How long the animal lives for
20-30 years
Lifestyle:
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable
Solitary
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
Threatened
Colour:
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Tan, Brown, Black, Grey, White
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Scales
Favourite Food:Eggs
Habitat:
The specific area where the animal lives
Shrubland, desert and woodland
Average Clutch Size:
The average number of eggs laif at once
8
Main Prey:Eggs, Small Mammals, Birds and Reptiles
Predators:
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Humans, Coyotes, Birds Of Prey
Special Features:Fat-storing tail and venomous bite

Gila Monster Location

Map of Gila Monster Locations
Map of North America

Gila Monster

The gila monster is a large species of lizard that is natively found in parts of the southern United States and northern Mexico. The gila monster is also one of only two species of venomous lizard found in North America.

The gila monster is found roaming through a range of habitats throughout the drier regions of central America. Gila monsters tend to inhabit areas that are more sheltered such as shrublands, woodlands, forests and semi-deserts.

In the same way that a camel's hump, the tail of the gila monster acts as a fat storage facility in order to help the gila monster to survive more successfully in such arid conditions. When the gila monster eats and therefore replenishes its fat supply, the tail of the gila monster swells in size and becomes smaller again as its body uses up the fat.

The gila monster has short powerful legs, and long claws which it mainly uses for digging. Gila monsters spend nearly all of their time in burrows underground, either ones they have dug themselves or more likely, those stolen from other animals.

The gila monster is one of only two venomous lizard species that are found in North America. The gila monster has venom glands below its teeth on the bottom jaw which is released when the gila monster bites its prey. The gila monster then waits while its venom kills the animal, before finally eating it.

The gila monster is a carnivorous animal and therefore has a purely animal-based diet. Bird and reptile eggs make up the majority of the gila monster's diet, along with insects, frogs, small mammals and reptiles, including smaller lizards.

Despite its large size, the gila monster is a fairly slow-moving animal meaning that it is preyed upon by a number of predators in its natural environment. Coyotes and humans (who often kill the gila monster claiming self-defence), are the main predators of the gila monster along with birds of prey and small ground-dwelling animals that hunts the eggs of the gila monster.

After mating, the female gila monster lays between 2 and 15 eggs which she buries underground. The incubation period for the gila monster eggs is one of the longest of all reptiles, as they can take up to a year to hatch.

Gila Monster Comments

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First Published: 4th January 2010, Last Updated: 9th January 2017 [View Sources]

Sources:
1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 04 Jan 2010]
2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
3. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 04 Jan 2010]
4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 04 Jan 2010]
5. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 04 Jan 2010]

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