I was driving home from dropping the dog off at the groomer. I’d gotten on to Via Soledad when I saw this big lizard crossing the road. OMG that’s a Gila monster. I stopped and pulled over. Got out my iPhone and got as close as I dared to take a few snapshots. I’ve cleaned and cropped these images below. Click on image for larger version.
You don’t really get a sense of scale from this image. This lizard was at least a foot long maybe 14 inches. They can grow as long as two feet.
They are venomous but slow. So long as you give them a wide berth they won’t bother you. It didn’t care too much for me taking his photo. I got as close as four foot away. It stopped, turned it’s head towards me and opened it’s mouth at me when I got too close.
Even though they are venomous, it’s not fatal but very painful from what I’ve read. They don’t leap seven feet in the air, they don’t drop out of trees (or giant saguaro) onto your head, nor do they don’t spit venom. But if anyone asks you can add “as far as I know”.
And one more wildlife note. I saw my first bats last night. They were flying under the back porch overhang. I saw three or four swoop in like they were strafing the table. I still have not seen any rattlesnakes or coyotes or javalinas yet. Not in any hurry to see those.