The Living on Earth Almanac
Air Date: Week of June 4, 1999
This week, facts about... the Gila (HEE-lah) National Wilderness and its native lizard, the Gila Monster.
CURWOOD: This month marks the 75th anniversary of the creation of Gila National Wilderness. The Rocky Mountains in the Sierra Madre range terminate in the Gila, and parts of the Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts lie in it. Set aside in 1924, the Gila was the first area to receive the wilderness designation, ensuring that it would remain roadless and undeveloped. Among its flora and fauna are elk, aspen trees, and the prickly pear cactus. But its most novel species is probably the Gila monster. The Gila monster is one of two known venomous lizards. Its cousin, the Mexican beaded lizard, is the other. Striking in appearance, Gila monsters are pink with yellow and black shading, sporting dark bands on the tail. Adults may reach nearly two feet in length, making them the largest lizard in the US. They generally aren't aggressive. But if you do happen to see one, don't get too close. If they feel cornered they can turn and bite very quickly. A Gila's venom, while less toxic than most rattlesnakes, is potentially lethal, and their bites are plenty painful. See, Gila monsters don't release their victims immediately after they bite. They prefer instead to chew for a while. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.
Living on Earth wants to hear from you!
Living on Earth
62 Calef Highway, Suite 212
Lee, NH 03861
Newsletter [Click here]
Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.
Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.
Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion
The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.
Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.
Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth