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acrylic on illustration board 8" x 10"
Along with its close relative the Mexican Beaded Lizard (Heloderma horridum), the Gila Monster (H. suspectum) represents the last surviving member of an ancient family of venomous lizards that is probably closely related to the ancestors of the first snakes. Restricted to the arid southwestern portion of the United States and adjacent Mexico, the Gila Monsters spend most of their time in hiding, emerging when conditions are good to hunt for the nests of birds and small mammals, the contents of which make up most of its diet. The banded pattern on this individual is typical of the population in southwestern Utah.