Many online breeders sell out quite quickly and are not always available at reptile shows. This is especially true in places where Gila monsters need harder permits to obtain. In 1952, the Gila monster became the first venomous animal to receive legal protection.  They are now protected in all states of their distribution. International trade in this species is regulated by CITES Appendix II. They are illegal to catch and keep almost anywhere, so specimens caught in the wild are out of the question. And there are not many captured breeders working with Gila monsters. In 1963, the San Diego Zoo became the first zoo to successfully breed Gila monsters in captivity.  Over the past two decades, experienced breeders have shared their knowledge and expertise to provide advice to other herpetologists on how to overcome the reproductive difficulties of heloderma under human care.    This is a monster and not a baby, it is probably the largest specimen ever captured in Arizona. It is 27 inches long and weighs 35 lbs.
It was captured by H. C. Hiatt on the road between Tombstone and Grand Central Mill and purchased by Ed Baker and Charles Eastman, who now display it at Kelley`s Wine House, just next door above the Grand Hotel, Allen Street. People from the East who have never seen one of these monsters should not fail to inspect its Aztecism, as they could accidentally stumble upon a fine day and be seriously frightened if they do not know what it is. Dr. Handy`s friend, Dr. George Goodfellow of Tombstone, was one of the first to explore the real-world effects of Gila`s monster venom. Scientific American reported in 1890: „The breath is very smelly and its smell can be perceived at some distance from the lizard. This is thought to be one of the ways the monster catches insects and small animals that make up part of its food supply – the putrid gas that overcomes it. Goodfellow offered to pay residents $5.00 for Gila monster specimens.
He bought several and collected others himself. In 1891, he deliberately caused one of his captured lizards to bite his finger. The bite made him sick and he spent the next five days in bed, but he made a full recovery. When Scientific American published another unfounded report on the lizard`s ability to kill humans, it wrote in response, outlining his own studies and personal experiences. He wrote that he knew several people who had been bitten by Gila monsters, but who had not died from the bite.  Gila`s monsters – Heloderma suspectum – are native to the deserts of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. If an animal is not prohibited or does not require a permit, it may be kept as a pet. However, no person may own more than 6 animals of any kind and not more than 25 wild animals at a time. Coatimundi bred in captivity can be kept as pets, but proof of legal acquisition is required. No county west of the Pecos River with a population of less than 25,000 requires a permit. Maybe you`ve always wanted to own a pet monkey, or you`re wondering if it`s legal for your neighbor to have that cougar in their yard. Luckily for your curiosity, every state has exotic animal laws that allow, restrict, or prohibit the ownership of certain animal species.
The following article describes some of these state laws in more detail. Gila monsters are venomous lizards that are often bred in captivity in the United States and kept as pets. Can you have a Gila monster as a pet? There are no federal laws that prevent anyone from owning a Gila monster. However, there are state and local laws that you need to be aware of. It is illegal to possess wild-caught Gila monsters in most states, especially states where these reptiles are native. Some states also have restrictions on venomous reptiles as pets. States like Arizona and Utah are actively monitoring their Gila populations and aren`t afraid to blame poachers. In Massachusetts, it`s illegal to own a Gila monster, period.
Prey can be crushed to death when large, or eaten alive, mostly upside down, and aided by muscle contractions and neck flexions. After swallowing food, the Gila monster can immediately resume its tongue-capping and searching behavior to identify other prey such as eggs or young in the nests. Gila`s monsters are able to climb trees and cacti and even climb fairly straight and rough walls.   Gila monsters hunt rodents, rabbits and newborn hares, although ground-nesting birds and lizards, as well as the eggs of birds, lizards, snakes and turtles, are also eaten. Young Gila monsters can consume up to 50% of their body weight in a single feeding, while adults are able to consume 35% of their body weight in a single feeding. They are mainly active during the day from March to November and can sunbathe at the entrance of their shelters in winter and early spring.