Gila Monster
Poisonous lizard sculpture by ©2012-2015 RareBreed

Not quite a monster, this little lizard is actually a poisonous reptile named after a river basin. The Gila monster is one of the few surviving poisonous lizards still in existence, it dwells in arid environments like the Mojave desert in North America with its relative the beaded lizard. Considered living fossils, its body is covered in bumpy osteoderms (bony plates) adding to its odd primeval look along with a painful bite. Besides insects and snakes, there are relatively few species of toxic mammals, amphibians, fish, and rarer still -lizards. The only other potently poisonous reptiles are perenties and komodo dragons. Other extinct poisonous creatures include possibly the bird-like dinosaur sinornithosaurus and therapsids uatchitodon and euchambersia.

Poison is used in the natural world as a means of defense and a way to capture prey formed by amino acids or proteins structures from toxic glands. Poisonous animals usually advertise their toxicity visually with bright colors and contrasting markings or by sound; venom is injected via fangs and stingers while poison is delivered through saliva by teeth. The potency ranges greatly and only antivenom, cultured infected antibodies, or natural exposure from small gradual doses can reverse ill effects. Though, not considered lethally poisonous, the mythic Gila monster still garners a fierce temperament despite merely growing to one or two feet. They come in a banded or reticulated pattern with a tough outwardly appearance from prominently “studded skin”. Gila monsters were one of the first poisonous animals to acquire legal protection and also star in various monster roles in western movies.

Gila monster model replica is finely sculpted for the ©2012-2015 RareBreed Wildlife Collection.