Pima Co., Arizona
8 March 2009
In March 2009 I was with some friends in Catalina, AZ near Tucson. One of them was a federal wildlife officer and we were taking some photos of a Gila Monster that had been confiscated from someone that had it illegally. I don't remember all the details, but the Gila Monster was to be released near this location at some point in the near future. So, I had the opportunity to take some shots of this beautiful animal, but it was a captive at this time. It had originally been captured in the wild nearby, however.
The Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum, /ˈhiːlə/ HEE-lə) is a species of venomous lizard native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexican state of Sonora. A heavy, slow-moving lizard, up to 60 cm (2.0 ft) long, the Gila monster is the only venomous lizard native to the United States and one of only two known species of venomous lizards in North America, the other being its close relative, the Mexican beaded lizard (H. horridum). Though the Gila monster...