Gila Monster – the largest lizard in North America


The Gila Monster (pronounce, “HEEE-la”) is light orange and black and sometimes yellow.

They also has a rough bumpy hard skin and walks slowly. They live in the desert but usually stays in the shade. The gila monster eats eggs and other stuff, such as snakes. They sometimes fight. They have claws and a powerful bite. They have bumps to keep moisture in and to protect themselves.  They bury their eggs underground. Their claws are for digging. They also have purple tongues.

They live in the Sonoran desert and have a poisonous bite. The gila monster only needs 3 or 4 meals to survive the whole year. They won’t attack you if you let them have their space. If they bite you, they will hold on until sunset. He will stop biting if you stay calm and don’t move or talk.

There are only about a million left in the world. They are the heaviest lizard in North America.

Written by JY, Age 7, Toronto

20170606 gila blue tongue source:

Scientific name: Heloderma suspectum
Where do they live?: South-western United States and North-west Mexico
What do they eat? small mammals, birds, eggs of quails, doves and reptiles
How big are they? 35 to 50 cm (14 to 20 inches)
How long do they live? 20 years
What is its creature power? powerful, venomous bite and sharp digging claws

Fun Facts!

  • Gila monster is the largest and heaviest lizard in North America
  • Gila monster is covered in beads, not scales
  • Gila monster is the only lizard in the United States that has a venomous bite
  • Gila monster spends 95% of its life hidden in underground burrows.


Gila monsters live in the south-western area of the United States and North-west Mexico. 20170705 gila-monster-mapsource: National Geographic Kids

Gila monsters thrive in hot desert climates.

20170705 gila habitatsource:

Watch a video about the Gila Monster

Amazing animals: Gila Monster by National Geographic Kids


Activities and Crafts

How many words can you make from “Gila Monster”? There are at least 20 words! Can you discover them all? Click on the image below to download the activity.

worksheet-gila monster image

Gila Monster – How many words activity (includes suggested words on separate page)

20170705 how-to-draw-a-gila-monster-step-by-stepsource:

Color by number for the Gila Monster

gila-monster-coloring by number


One Response

  1. E.S. July 7, 2017

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