Helodermatidae – Gila monsters

Monster-like heavy footed gait, a striking appearance and a venomous defense

Helodermatids, the only venomous lizards known, form this family of lizards found in south American and North Mexican desserts.

Helodermatids can grow up to 1 m (3.3 ft) and are characterized by small bead-like bumps all over their dorsal (upper) surface and shiny, leathery skin with various types of body markings and color patterns.

Beaded lizards’ tail is promotionally longer to their body compared to Gila Monsters. Their heavy-footed gait and stark appearance give a monster-like impression. Members of this family are known for elaborate courtship battles with their males. Beaded lizards’ males form an arch-like structure by pushing their upper bodies against each other; this behavior is strikingly similar to the courtship battles shown by monitor lizards.