Gila Monsters—Living With

If you see a Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum) in your yard avoid it – it may just be passing through. Do not get too close, try to pick it up, or otherwise handle it.

While the lizard is venomous, it is typically not aggressive and will try to avoid humans. Very few people are bitten by Gila Monsters. Since the 1940s there have been no recorded death from a Gila Monster bite in Arizona.

To have a Gila Monster removed:

Pima County (Unincorporated parts) — Call Rural/Metro Fire Department: Telephone: 520-624-9913. 

Tucson — There is no agency that removes Gila monsters for free. You must call private companies that charge about $75 to remove the Gila monster.
Options include: Desert Wildlife Services: Telephone: 520-743-1411 and Animal Experts Trapping and Rescue Service: Telephone: 520-531-1020.

Read more about Gila Monsters., opens a new window


Gila Monster, opens a new window | National Park Service

Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum), opens a new window | Tucson Herpetological Society

"Scary Critters belong here." Arizona Daily Star.  April 18, 2004. Page 1.

"Anne: Be alert' buzzworm season about to start." Tucson Citizen. March 27, 2007. Page A5.

Find the information you need by calling the library's Infoline at 520-791-4010 or by sending your question to Ask a Librarian.