Gila Monster!

Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum)

We worked at a dude ranch trimming palms and Eucalyptus trees last week and I was please to see a Gila Monster walking along the sidewalk! This was only the second one I have seen in the wild, both being at this ranch, although years apart. I quickly got out of the lift and ran to my truck for the camera. I was able to fire off 4 shots with this being the best. The Gila Monster kept moving (fairly fast) and went into some shrubs where I left it alone.

Gila Monsters have an unusual gait. The move both limbs onĀ each side of their body at the same time, in opposite directions. So, on the left side they will move their front leg forward and their back leg backward while on their right side they are moving their front leg back and their rear leg forward (as in the photo above). That sounds complicated, and possibly it is, but not for the Gila Monster! It moves along very rapidly and can really cover some ground! The result of this motion is that their body swings back and forth in a very interesting way.