Shy Gila Monsters Pack a Painful Bite



The Gila monster is a shy reptile that is not prone to attacking humans unless significantly agitated. It emerges from hibernation in January or February and mates in May and June. The female lays eggs in July or August.

The slow-moving Gila monster has a venomous bite and strong jaws to deliver venom. Southern Arizonans are reminded not to tangle with these lizards. Since the 1950s, Arizona laws have protected the red-orange and black lizards from being captured or harassed. 

The Arizona Poison and Drug information Center says victims of Gila monster bites may experience localized swelling, nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, weakness, faintness, excessive perspiration, chills and fever. Some people have experienced severe reactions resulting in breathing difficulties.

Learn about what to do if bitten at