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Gila Monster Encounters

Gila monsters are a species of venomous lizard that live primarily in the American southwest and in northwest Mexico. They are the only venomous lizard native to North America. Gila monsters usually have protected status, specifically in the state of Nevada. That means you cannot handle one without permission from the Department of Wildlife, unless it is a threat. The venom of a Gila monster is as strong as a rattlesnake and when they bite, they chomp down and chew the venom into the wound. Victims of this bite say it is extremely painful.

reticulate-gila-monster-300x182Gila monsters can be active both during the night and day, depending on the temperature and their needs. They are most active between March and October when the temperature is between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. They spend a great majority of time in their burrows, avoiding overheating and cooler temperatures in the winter. Monsoons often bring Gila monsters out and about and they are often attracted to garages because of cooler temperatures.

Gila monsters, along with being the sole venomous lizard in North America, also have very sharp teeth and a strong bite. Because of this, it is possible for them to be dangerous to humans and pets. Gila monsters generally only bite when threatened or cornered. They are not particularly fast and thus it is unlikely a bite would occur outside of trying to pick one up. Despite being slow, they can swiftly whip their heads around fast enough to bite anyone trying to pick them up. Sometimes pets and children are deceived by their slow, lumbering movements, but their reactions are as quick as snakes.

Gila monsters are known to climb very well and chicken wire or chain link fences will not keep them from venturing onto your property. In order to properly fence out Gila monsters, you need to build a cinder block wall at least two feet high. The lizards typically find their way into houses through garages or spaces beneath foundations. They may also hide in sheds.

If you encounter a Gila monster, the best thing to do is use a broom to push it out, while not getting too close. If you find a Gila monster on your property, you can cover it with a trash can in the shade and then call a wildlife or pest control specialist.

Green Home Pest Control can help you deal with Gila monsters on your property and recommend features to help keep them out.

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