The Gila monster is a large desert lizard that lives in arid areas in the south-west USA.

The species is unique in possessing a specialized venom injection mechanism: a venom gland in the lower jaw and slits in its teeth through which the venom is channelled when the Gila monster bites.
A male and a female Gila monster live in our Zoological Garden. We received them both as adults in the early 1980s from the Abu Kabir Zoological Garden, which means that they are at least 40 years old. The two live in a spacious cage in the reptile yard, which has various sunny and shaded areas, vegetation, shelters and soil, in which the Gila monsters dig their burrows. Occasionally the keeper wets some of the soil in order to add moisture, coolness and interest. The Gila monsters eat only meat and are fed here with a variety of food items: rat and mice pups, minced meat, vital eggs, crickets and more. 
At the beginning of May, Barak Levi, the keeper in the reptile yard, noticed that the female was fatter than usual, probably full of eggs. The eggs are expected to be laid in one of the burrows that the female is digging dedicatedly in the ground. We will continue to watch and update our readers.  

A couple of Gila monsters, Photos: Ilil Pratt

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