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Ahhhh! Real (Gila) Monsters

If you find yourself in the desert of the southwestern United States, do yourself a favor and try not to step on a gila monster. This orange-and-black-speckled reptile is the only venomous lizard native to the U.S. It’s got powerful jaws and a ferocious bite, which it pairs with venomous saliva to consume its prey. Although toxic, a bite won’t kill an adult human. This desert denizen camouflages well between the dusty pebbles and dry flora of its surroundings. Sadly, agricultural and residential development have severely stunted the gila monster’s natural habitat. Since these lizards spend most of their time underground, we don’t know exactly how many are left.

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United States

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