Gila Monster moving across orange ground to the right.

Gila Monster

Gila Monster

Check out Australia Zoo’s Gila Monster!

Australia Zoo’s Robert’s Reptile House is home to some of the most impressive reptiles on the planet, including our gorgeous Gila monster! This venomous lizard is a must see while visiting the Zoo.


Gila Monster perched on red rock looking at camera.


Frequenting deserts and scrublands of south-west United States and northern Mexico, these reptiles are one of the few venomous lizards found around the world! Gila monsters are black in colour, with orange or pink stripes, spots and blotches to perfectly camouflage in their arid environment.


Gila monsters have a very strong jaw, with venom glands under their lower teeth. Their venom is transferred through grooves in the teeth and is used as a defensive tool to let potential predators know not to muck with them. Gila monsters are carnivores, spending daylight hours in search of small birds, eggs, mammals, insects, frogs and even carrion. They are known to eat infrequently throughout the year, as little as five to ten times, however, they may eat up to one-third of their body weight in one sitting! Crikey!


Gila Monster standing on red rock with tongue out.


During warmer months, they often shelter from the heat in burrows, caves and rocky ledges. This predominately solitary lizard will occupy a territory of up to 1.6 square kilometres (1 square mile)! Strewth! That’s a lot of space for a small lizard!


Threatened by an increase in habitat destruction, plus predators like coyotes and birds of prey, these awesome reptiles are considered a near threatened species and are in need of our support.

  • Class of animal icon


  • Genus of animal icon


  • Species of animal icon


  • height of animal icon

    60 centimetres

  • weight of animal icon

    Up to 1.8 kilograms

  • diet of animal icon


  • gestation of animal icon

    9 months

  • threatened species status of animal icon

    Near Threatened