Oct 8 2010

Gila Monster Shuffle

Melissa Crytzer Fry

I’ve been lucky enough to see Gila Monsters in the area on three different occasions this year. Did you know the Gila Monster is one of only two venomous lizards in the world (though so slow as to pose no threat to humans)? OK – so they can lunge…

When we first bought our property, hubby found a juvenile Gila Monster trapped in an old tin tar bucket, whom we successfully freed.

This Gila Monster, photographed in Smelter Wash, AZ, took his time heading for the brush when we encountered him in the middle of the wash. Click to enlarge. Scroll below for second photo.

For Writers: Do your stories feature misunderstood characters like the Gila Monster? Warnings say this lizard will latch on to human flesh and not let go with its razor-sharp teeth and nearby poison glands … True, but only if provoked. And who’s going to be dumb enough to stick a hand in front of a Gila Monster? Keep your distance, and all will be well.

What happens when one of your characters is provoked? Does he or she change personality completely? Does he become a monster? Does his upbringing/life history justify his reaction?

Lucky Encounter: Gila Monsters are rare to see in the wild. They store fat in their tails; a swollen tail indicates they are well fed, similar to this guy. Click to enlarge.

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