Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Jekyll Island Beach 2012
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Gila Monster--The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly!!

The Rogue Speaks:

There's a lot of stuff in the desert that can hurt you, besides the cactus thorns! We have scorpions, rattle snakes, poisonous toads, to name a few. We also have this big fellow:



There are only two venomous lizards--the Gila monster and the Mexican beaded lizard. The Gila monster bites very quickly and doesn't let go!! It doesn't have fangs like snakes do. Instead, it has grooved teeth through which the venom flows into the bite. The venom is very toxic, as toxic as a rattlesnake, but the Gila monster doesn't give off as much venom as the rattlesnake into a bite.

Gila monsters spend most of their life in hiding below ground. They are large (the largest lizards in the U.S.) and they are long (about 22 inches) and they can store more energy that small lizards. They store the energy in the fat in their tail and their bodies. They can also eat large meals. The have a low basal metabolism, so they do not require many meals. They eat small birds, other lizards, eggs, and field mice.

When they venture out above ground, they have been known to find their way to my house--particularly my sliding glass door to my bedroom. Actually, that has only happened once, but once is more than enough for me. Our barking dog alerted me to something lurking in the shadows one night. I turned on the lights and there he was!!



The fire department is very good at rushing out to removed these guys, so I immediately called 911. The firemen were here in less than 10 minutes. One rookie decided to simply pick up Mr. Gila, and put him in the bucket, but his supervisor stopped him just in time. If the Gila monster feels threatened, he can spit his venom at you! And his hiss alone is enough to scare you away.

This guy was determined to get in my house:



He was taken away and relocated away from houses, for our protection and his. Gilas are threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and are protected under Arizona law. They may live over 20 years!

But the Gila monster isn't all bad. A component of his venom called extendin-4 has been shown to aid in treating type-2 diabetes. Now if you happen to have this illness, please don't run out and try to catch one of these creatures! Their bite is extremely painful!

This concludes my post on this visitor to my desert home. There are a few more I wish had never come to visit, but that's for another time. Please read more offerings at Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday!

34 comments:

Ames said...

I don't like him! He's ugly too!

I have horrible thoughts of rounding a corner in my house only to see a snake slithering in the house. Eeek! This actually happened to my neighbor. The snake was in her master closet.

I don't like snakes. Or spiders, or bugs in general. Snakes are the worst!~Ames

askcherlock said...

Yikes, Judie! I would probably barricade my entire house. But I love Arizona, so I guess you need to take the unwelcome with the welcome of the beauty there.

5thsister said...

When I was in Honors Biology in high school, my teacher had a gila monster as the class pet. Students were required to take a week to care for it. We were graded, believe it or not, for how well we did. I had forgotten that until I read this post!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

Curious George went to the zoo to see one of these so, we had to too.

myorii said...

Wow! That IS pretty scary! Imagine how horrible it would have been to have encountered it without any warning! I'm glad that it was removed safely from your home and relocated far away.

ArtMuse Dog and Carol said...

isn't he a cutey or she? ~ Certainly don't want it your home ~ Wow! Enjoy the day ^_^

Vicki aka Jake said...

EEEWWWWW! My skin crawls at the sight of a spider. Can't imagine what this guy would do to it... Gives me the creeps! Glad you got rescued:)

Akseli Koskela said...

What a menacing looking lizard! We have a similar creature down under - a Goanna. Not in Sydney though, Sydney only gets spiders and cockroaches and maybe Blue-Tongue Lizards out in the suburbs but they're harmless.

Karen S. at 21 Wits said...

Oh by gosh I so feel a great story coming on! He is rather charming though isn't he! In all my trips to the desert...I was only bitten once by some sort of ant which of course made me loose my balance and the same foot stuck a tooth pick cactus OUCH! But my baby son was in my arms and I never let go of him! It was an amazing moment at Grandpa's!

Sue said...

Having one of those in my house would definitely creep me out!

And my doctor wants me to try that diabetes medication. I'm a little timid about it, but I might...

=)

Dazee Dreamer said...

Ok, if I saw that I would totally freak out.

ChrisJ said...

Damn, the most beautiful places seem to have the nastiest critters! Must be some sort of payment for the beauty.

nothingprofound said...

I ran across one or two in the desert in my Tucson days. I think they're quite beautiful, as I do most living things, but definitely not something you'd want as a house guest.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

shudder.....

Gattina said...

Geez, I only know the cute little lizards living in the Southern European countries,and which I call my "mini crocodiles" ! never thought that such a monster exists ! It really doesn't look very friendly and it is so huge !

dianesartnow said...

Geez--I hope they didn't relocate him to MY neighborhood. I hate any lizards. And, we did have a hissing 8' garter snake killed recently. He easily could have eaten little 3 pound Jake--
Thanks for sharing this creepy news!

ellen b said...

Oye! That is one scary looking fella...
I'm glad he was re-located.

Sarah said...

I'm not sure which is worse--have diabetes or taking medicine made by the venom from this ugly looking guy. And to think the dogs may not know better and get too close to it!

Francisca said...

Noooo no no no... NOT in my HOME! Home is refuge, no place for ugly poisonous lizards. YUCK! My home is full of tiny geckos, but they are harmless and eat mosquitoes... and I like the clicking sound they make... that is good. Poisonous biters in the bedroom? Not good. Great G post, Judie.

Lola said...

Hi Judie,

Fabulous G post! Fortunately, we only get small, harmless lizards here in Andalucia!

btw hope you enjoy the novel & that all goes well with yr eye surgery,

Have a lovely weekend,

XOXO Lola:)

Cindy Adkins said...

Oh my gosh, Judie, that's unbelievable!!! (Of course, here I guess we have to worry about alligators, but I've never seen one in a yard, thank goodness!!!
Sending (((hugs))) your way,
Cindy

Cindy Adkins said...

I just saw the blog button--I've got to grab it and post it!
XO
Cindy

Judie said...

Thanks, Cindy! You also have to worry about armadillos because they carry leprosy! Don't even think about having "possum on the half-shell" for dinner!!!

upinthecosmos said...

I love learning about creatures. Granted I don't want to cross it but it but this one does look pretty cool. Knowing now how dangerous it is it's also quite scarey, but still cool:-)

Barbara Rosenzweig said...

Wonderful information and great shots! Thanks for sharing!
Barb

Pondside said...

I'd be running the other way if one of these was on my doorstep. Great post!

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

Yikes! I would absolutely have a heart attack! I hate big lizards and all snakes. Here in the Pacific Northwest we don't have poisonous creatures but we do have giant slugs that eat everything in site. I'll try and photograph one lol. Great (scary) post. Glad the firemen took him away.

Regards, Mari

http://www.mariscamera.blogspot.com/

☆☆Mumsy said...

I would be panicked enough to just stand on top of a table some where. You took pictures, so you are my "he-woman"!

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

EW! ...on their being so poisonous! And so big! I don't mind little lizards...like the geckos we saw everywhere in Hawaii (hey that would have been a great post for me to write about :o) And wow...didnt know that Armadillos can be carriers for leprosy! Yikes!!!!

Blessings & Aloha!
(...catching up on my blog reading and return "thank you visits" Thank you for stopping by, my friend!...I didnt even manage to get my "once a week" post up last week! That is so neat that you still have your badge sash ;o) I have mine in some box, some where...along with my handbook and the award and badge for my "one contact lens" orienteering win.

nick said...

Interesting. And if I was that ugly, I'd spend most of my time hiding underground, too.

EG Wow said...

Sorry I'm late to get around this week, Judie. It has been a busy week. I'm glad I did come by to learn about this lizard. Scary stuff! And I'm glad the fire department is quick to respond.

Tammy said...

If he weren't trying to break into your house, I would think he was really rather pretty in his own lizardy way! Y'all get some cool critters out your way. Scary, but cool.

Jo said...

oh my ... that is just creepy! and a little terrifying!

Jenny said...

Gila monsters. The stuff of nightmares around here...at least with our middle Grand.

I've only encountered two of these in our entire time in AZ...both times in the desert. I think it would scare the be-Jesus out of me if one was by our bedroom door!

Thanks for a grandly shiver inducing post.

And, I didn't know all this about them. Now I think they're even more terrifying.

Yikes!

Thanks for linking up.

A+