Gila monsters have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. Moving to the Sonoran Desert brought so much excitement for seeing one and finally, I did! They are large and lumbering giant lizards, with the most beautiful skin. This first lovely Gila monster wandered into the base of this mesquite tree at my neighbor’s home and I could have watched it for hours.
Each lizard’s black and orange pattern is unique to them. The Gila Monster Research Project at Saguaro National Park is learning all about the home range and population size of Gila monsters in and around the park. If you see one, just email photos of it, with information on exactly where and when you saw it, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Park scientists use pattern recognition to identity different animals and are eager to see where you cross paths with a Gila monster in the park. Remember, while not aggressive, these lizards do have a painful bite if provoked so keep a respectful distance away from any Gila monsters you encounter!