Swedish Animal Park Hatches Two Gila Monsters
February 28, 2014
Two Gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum) were born at an animal park in Sweden, marking the first instance of a successful birth of the venomous lizards in Europe. Officials with the Skansen animal park in Stockholm announced the birth this week after a four month incubation period, according to Sweden's English language news site The Local.
"We're extremely happy to have finally succeeded in multiplying the numbers of Gila monsters after breeding them for years," Jonas Wahlstrom, managing director at Skansen's aquarium, told The Local. The park has apparently been trying to successfully breed Gila monsters for several years and met with success on the birth of two of the lizards.
The Gila monster can grow to more than 20 inches in length but 13 to 19 inches is the average size. Its native range includes Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Mexico, in desert and foothills of mountains. In the wild, the Gila monster consumes rodents, eggs, and small reptiles. It is related to the beaded lizard, another venomous species that is native to Mexico.