Cactus Forest Loop Road CLOSURE
The Cactus Forest Loop Road in Saguaro National Park Rincon Mountain District (east) will be closed March 10th and 11th from 5am to 8am. The Visitor Center Parking Lot will also be closed on March 11th from 5am to 8am for road striping. More »
Construction on roads in Tucson Mountain District may cause delays up to 30 mins
Starting February 3rd, work will begin to improve safety features along Picture Rocks Road, Sandario Road and Kinney Road. Work may cause delays up to 30 minutes and the work is scheduled to continue into March. More »
Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum)
Gila Monsters are one of only two venomous lizards in the world! They produce venom in glands of the lower jaw and channel it along grooves in the teeth for secretion. Once a Gila monster bites, it generally holds on tight, chewing more and more venom into the bite. The venom is believed to be a defensive weapon as most of the lizard’s prey is defenseless.
Gila monsters are most active during daylight from spring through fall, but they spend up to 98 % of their time in their burrows. When they are above ground, they tend to move rather slowly and will first try to escape if a predator comes near. They will also hiss and open their mouths very wide (this behavior is called gaping), showing off their pointy teeth. They bite only as a last resort. The bite is extremely painful to humans but rarely fatal. Most human bites occur when someone purposely aggravates or tries to handle a Gila monster. If left alone, they are harmless.
Body size: 9-14 in. (22.8-35.5 cm)
Diet: Small and young mammals (baby rabbits, for example), nestling birds and eggs, reptile eggs, and carrion
Did You Know?
Six species of rattlesnakes call the Tucson area their home. They are the Western Diamondback, Tiger, Northern Black-tailed, Mojave, Sidewinder and Arizona Black Rattlesnakes.