Gila Monsters are beautiful animal
s, but they are illegal to catch
, or keep
(and elsewhere in the US, I imagine). This doesn't stop them from visiting our house, however, and we never refuse visitors our hospitality
. Though we usually greet guests with a drink
and a comfy sofa
to sit on, we adapt that for reptile
s to a warm, sand-filled terrarium
, a dish of water
, and (in the case of Gila Monsters) fresh egg
Seriously, Gila Monsters like lots of sand, and some of them will eat chicken eggs. Put their terrarium near the window, or they will become torpid in your air-conditioned house. Gila Monsters like to eat quail eggs, but those are difficult to find, and the quail have a hard enough time defending their nests without human interference. Two Gila Monsters may be kept in the same cage without incident -- if they are territorial, it's probably only at certain times of year.
Gila Monsters are venomous, but the likelihood you will ever be bitten by one is nil. Only two documented cases of Gila Monster bites exist in southern Arizona, one of them being quite fantastic, and the other being an experimental researcher forcing the lizard to bite his arm so he could test his antidotes. He survived without incident.
The other guy was doing motorcycle stunts in a wash, jumping ramps and whatnot, when he lost control of his bike as he was getting airborne. He got thrown off in mid-air, landed hard on some rocks, broke some bones, and by incredible coincidence put his hand into the open mouth of a lounging Gila Monster, which promptly bit him. He reported that it was extremely painful and that several people had to help disengage the lizard. No lasting effects from the venom.
The only other poisonous lizard in existence is the Mexican Beaded Lizard, which lives a little further south and looks quite similar.