Heloderma – Gila monsters

A small group of nest predators that contains venomous lizards

The genus Heloderma contains the well-known Gila monster and four species of beaded lizards. While most of these lizards make their homes in the desert, beaded lizards need higher humidity than other desert reptiles.

They are usually lazy and sluggish, but they can move rapidly when provoked. They also produce a hissing sound to warn off intruders.

These lizards play a pivotal role in the desert ecology in the areas of their habitat. By feeding on the eggs or young of small desert inhabitants, beaded lizards help control their populations. Conservation status varies with each species in this genus.