Mexican Beaded Lizard

Mexican Beaded Lizard Heloderma horridum

Type of Animal:

Woodland, open forest, washes, desert, desert scrub, scrubland, thornscrub/thorn forest, tropical thorn woodland, dry forest, tropical deciduous forest, pine-oak forest, semiarid sparsely vegetated canyon bottoms, rock ledges, scrub forest, chaparral, mountainous areas, rocky sparsely vegetated areas, found from sea level to 4,921.26 ft

W Mexico

Stocky lizard w/ broad head, small beadlike scales, black base color, strong forelegs/claws, long tail

Eggs, small mammals, birds, lizards, snakes, young tortoises, frogs, insects, earthworms, carrion

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos, wildlife parks, & breeding centers

Solitary or small multi-male, multi-female groups. Male combat often helps trigger breeding, consisting of wrestling/biting.

Additional Info:

Young: Hatchling
Group: Lounge

Male: 8.8 lbs
Female: 3.09-4.4 lbs
Young: 1 lb

6-7 months 

Life Span:
20-30 years

Body Length:
Male: 2.95 ft
Female: 2.49 ft
Young: 1.9 ft

Tail Length:
Male: 1.475 ft
Female: 1.245 ft

Main predators of adults are coyotes, raptors, foxes, pumas, & bobcats. Rattlesnakes eat young. Many animals eat eggs.
Spend much of their time underground or in sheltered areas.
They’re very sluggish, only biting if provoked.
Coloration may serve as warning.
Venom produced in modified salivary glands in lower jaw & often chewed into victims w/ bulldog-like tenacity. Venom used for killing prey as well as defense.
When food scarce, they can metabolize fat stored in tail.
Females lay 2-30 eggs per clutch.
These lizards are good climbers.
These lizards only active from April to mid-November & often only for an hour.
Sexually mature at 2-3 years old.
Can go w/o eating for long periods of time.
All prey besides eggs & carrion swallowed whole.

Fun Fact(s):
These lizards often killed on sight due to superstitions such as that they’re more venomous than rattlesnakes, can cause lightning strikes w/ tails, and/or cause pregnant women to miscarry by simply looking at them.
Unlike many lizards, tails don’t grow back if broken.
Bites from these lizards can cause pain lasting more than a day as well as edema, hypotension, nausea, vomiting, weakness, & diaphoresis. 1st line of defense is to hiss.
Venom been found to have several enzymes useful for possibly treating diabetes, Alzheimer’s & HIV.

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