The Gila Monster, whose scientific name is Heloderma suspectum, is a species of lizard that is highly venomous. The Gila Monster is native to the Southwestern United States and Sonora in northwestern Mexico. This “Monster” can grow to the size 22 inches and usually weighs around 4 pounds. The Gila Monsters conservation status is near threatened and the population is currently decreasing. The Gila Monster’s venom is not enough to kill a human even with their deadly bite. The Gila Monster is a slow-moving species that is only able to run about 1 to 1 and a half miles per hour, and their walking speed is even slower. This slow creature’s diet consists of small mammals, insects, other lizards, frogs, carrion, and it will occasionally raid nests to prey on eggs and hatched baby birds. The Gila Monster’s predators are coyotes, birds of prey, and humans. The Gila Monster does not have to bite its prey for the venom to hurt or kill it, this species is also able to spit its venom at its prey. This lizard-like animal can and will eat up to one- third of its own body weight in just one meal.
The Gila Monsters are unique in their own ways, with their looks being one of its most unique features. This species has large bodies with fat and short tails, wide feet with claws sharp enough to dig burrows, black eyes with round pupils, and are covered in scales. The Gila Monster usually has unique black, orange, pink, and yellow patterns covering its body.
The Gila Monsters get their name from the Arizona’s Gila River basin, where they were first discovered.
The Gila Monster may be venomous, but its saliva provides a helping hand to humans. The hormone exendin-4 found in the Gila Monster’s saliva led to developing the protein exenatide. This protein Exenatide can mimic glucagon-like peptide-1, which is used to treat type 2 diabetes patients who are diffencent in glucose. Exenatide is manufactured by Amylin Pharmaceutical Inc. The protein is inserted into a prefilled pen which then is injected into a patient with type 2 diabetes.