Gila Monster facts
The Gila monster is the largest lizard in the United States, and one of the few species of venomous lizard in the world. It has a stocky body with a large head and a short, fat tail (6). The skin consists of many round, bony scales, a feature that was common amongst the dinosaurs but is unusual in today's reptiles (3). Gila monsters have a striking bright pink and black colouration (6) and the two subspecies can be distinguished by their different patterns; the banded Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum cinctum) has a band of light markings along the back whilst in the reticulated Gila monster (H. s. suspectum) these light marks are joined in a network (3). With their venomous bite and elusive nature, these lizards have inspired many myths over the centuries (3).