Watch This Family Discover a Venomous Lizard in Their Backyard Pool

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: October 19, 2023
Share on:

The guy in the clip that you can see here was doing some routine pool maintenance when he found something in the pool that he wasn’t expecting. He called in the experts and found out that it was a Gila monster. This one was just a baby and had sneaked into one of the pool pipes to hide. The little reptile is soon safely removed and transported to a more pleasant environment. It is released beneath a shady tree near a pack rat nest which will provide some deep cover. It immediately scurried away and found a hold to hide in. Scroll down to see the full footage of this lizard rescue mission!

What Exactly Are Gila Monsters?

Despite their rather alarming name, Gila monsters are not really that scary! Their scientific name is Heloderma suspectum. This is derived from the ancient Greek words for nail head and skin. The name Gila monster comes from the Gila River basin which spans areas in New Mexico and Arizona. There was once a large population of this lizard in this area.

They are the largest lizard in the United States and can grow to 22 inches long and weigh a maximum of four pounds They are also one of only four venomous lizards native to North America. Having said that, they are pretty laid-back creatures and are not dangerous to humans.  

809 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

There are two subspecies of Gila monsters. First, is the reticulate gila monster which has a mottled appearance and is found in the southern part of the animal’s range. Second, is the banded Gila monster which has alternating bands of pink and black and is found in more northern regions.

Bright orange and black Gila Monster, venomous lizard in the road in Arizona.

Gila monsters are often found in deserts.

©Erin Donalson/

Where Do Gila Monsters Normally Live?

You are most likely to find one of these lizards in a desert or another dry place in southern Nevada and California’s San Bernardino County. They can also be spotted in other locations in the US including southern and western Arizona. Even though they are well adapted to desert life, they need to be near a supply of water. During the heat of the day, they may be found in underground burrows or crevices and thickets.

Can You Keep a Gila Monster as a Pet?

Whilst some people do keep Gila monsters as pets, it is not advisable. It is illegal to handle these animals without special permission in several US states. They require specialist care and expert knowledge to keep them happy and healthy.

If you spot one in your garden, the best advice is to put a trashcan over it and call your local animal control agency to remove it! Just like the guy in this footage.

Watch the Incredible Clip Below

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Vaclav Sebek/

Share on:
About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.