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Gila monster
Date Issued: 1999-04-06
Postage Value: 33 cents

Commemorative issue
Sonoran desert
Gila monster

The Gila monster is one of only two species of venomous lizards (its cousin, the Mexican beaded lizard, is the other). It can bite quickly and hold on tenaciously. Rather than injecting venom through hollow fangs like venomous snakes do, Gilas have enlarged, grooved teeth in their lower jaw. When they bite, their powerful jaws chew the venom in through capillary action along the grooves in these teeth. Gila monster venom is about as toxic as that of a western diamondback rattlesnake. However, a relatively small amount of venom is introduced in a Gila bite. The dorsal coloration of the Gila monster is black with pink or orange. In the southern subspecies, the reticulated Gila monster, the light markings, or bands, are broken up to form a reticulated pattern. In the northern subspecies, the banded Gila monster, the light markings generally form an unbroken band across the back.

Topics: Animal (533)  Flower (418)  

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