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Gila Monsters

The Gila monster prefers canyon bottoms, rocky areas and outlying desert residential areas. It spends less than 2 weeks per year above ground. From early March to mid-May, Gila monsters are active during the day and change to nighttime activity beginning with the monsoons.


  • A large, heavy-bodied lizard - 1 of 2 poisonous lizards in the world - and weighs up to 2 pounds
  • Displays black markings on a background that can be creamy, pink, yellow or orange
  • Measures up to 24 inches in length
  • Always has a black area around the mouth and eyes
  • It will protect itself from the sun and heat by burrowing underneath pack rat nests

Bite Symptoms

A bite produces intense pain within 30 seconds, followed by swelling, weakness, dizziness, nausea and chills.

Treating a Bite

Once a Gila monster bites, it does not lock on but generally will not let go. If this happens, you may have to pull it off. The longer it remains on you, the more venomous the bite.

Do not wait for symptoms to occur. Call the poison center immediately (800) 222-1222 and go to the closest medical facility for medical treatment.

If you have questions, please call us directly at (602) 253-3334 or call (800) 222-1222 for your local poison center.