How to Remove a Gila Monster

This article authored by: Catherine Hallberg

The other night, Rob went into our garage on an errand and was greeted by a psychedelic pink and black 18” Gila Monster. Aware they are venomous and can deliver a painful bite, he decided to crack the garage door and allow him to leave.

DSC_0031Next morning we looked under shelves and cars and decided he was gone. However, when Rob entered the garage that evening, there he was, lounging along the garage door. At this point, Rob & I decided to chase him out. Not anxious to leave he ran behind some plywood stacked against the wall. We had to remove it piece by piece until we saw him. How to get him to leave? We opened the door, angled the plywood so he could only go one way, and finally he moved on outside. It was a great photo op and we have shared some pictures with you.

Gila Monsters are indigenous to the Vail area, but aren’t often seen as they hibernate in underground burrows most of the year. April-June is mating season, with the young appearing around the following March. Their diet consists of eggs and nestling birds.Fat is stored in their flat tails which serves as nutrition while hibernating. Though slow-moving and non-aggressive, they should not be approached as the bite is quick and they hold on while injecting poison into the wound. Not a happy experience.

DSC_0038Should you encounter one in your yard, restrain pets and move away. It should leave in a couple hours. If it decides to take up residence, call the AZ Game and Fish Department (520)-628-5376 or the AZ Sonora Desert Museum (520) 883-2702 . Animal Control may re-locate it too far away, so that’s a last resort. Gila Monsters live in the same area all their lives and moving them more than 1000 meters from their home will often result in their death. As a protected species of AZ, you should never kill one.

When it comes to our desert wildlife, unless they pose an immediate threat, its best to go your way and let them go theirs, which is what we did with our little creature. So far, he’s not returned, but we are careful to keep our garage door closed and camera handy.

Catherine Hallberg

Rob and Catherine Hallberg are Associate Brokers with Long Realty, a Berkshire-Hathaway Affiliate and Southern Arizona’s largest Brokerage. Since 2008, they have been ranked in the top 5% to 8% of all U.S. REALTORS®. Send Rob and Catherine an email for a fast response to your questions; for an even faster response, Call (520) 407-8667.

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