The Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum, /ˈhiːlə/ HEE-lə) is a species of venomous lizard native to the southwestern United States and the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora. A heavy, typically slow-moving lizard, up to 60 cm (2. 0 ft) long, the Gila monster is the only venomous lizard native to the United States. Its close venomous relatives, the four “Mexican beaded lizards” (former subspecies of Heloderma horridum) inhabit Mexico and Guatemala. The Gila monster is venomous, although sluggish in nature and therefore not generally dangerous and very rarely a real threat to humans. Yet, its exaggeratedly fearsome reputation has led to its sometimes being killed, in spite of being protected by state law in Arizona.
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