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Gila Monster Health Information

While not an aggressive lizard, the Gila Monster may bite if startled or handled, and because it is potentially dangerous, should only be kept by the most experienced reptile keepers and herpetologists. In captivity, Gila Monsters may be kept in large enclosures allowing between three and three and a half square feet for an adult. They will need a substrate temperature between 85 and 90 degree Fahrenheit on one side of the cage. Mice or baby rats may be offered every week or every two weeks, and a bowl of fresh water should be available to the Gila Monster at all times. These animals may eat to the point of obesity and have very slow metabolisms, so it will be up to you to carefully monitor your lizard's diet.

Gila Monsters will generally mate each year or every other year. They are sexed using an ultrasound. Males tend to have broader heads than females, and females may have more pear-shaped bodies, but visually sexing this type of lizard has proved inconsistent and difficult in the past. Gila Monsters will need to be hibernated from November to March if you plan on breeding them. After hibernation, males will fight other males and should be kept absolutely separate until after mating. After mating, females will also fight and should be separated. Each will need a nest box with a damp sphagnum moss substrate.

Gravid females will eat although their tail will thin while its fat stores are depleted. Usually, they will shed a few weeks before they lay. The clutch size depends upon the size of the Gila Monster - 2 to 13 eggs may be deposited in the nest box. Usually, Gila Monster eggs do well when incubated in a 1:1 to 1:4 water/vermiculite mixture. Usually, it is better to err on the drier side than the moist side. The temperature should be between 79 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. After 124 to 140 days, the eggs will hatch. In the wild, eggs laid in summer will hatch the following spring.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Gila_Monster".
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