Poisonous Lizards - Topic Overview
Gila monster and the
Mexican beaded lizard are two types of poisonous (venomous) lizards found in
North America. These large, thick-bodied lizards have short, stubby limbs. They
live in desert regions of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.
Poisonous lizards do not generally bite unless they are handled.
Lizards bite with teeth rather than fangs. Venom enters the bite wound by
dripping down grooves in the teeth rather than being injected through fangs, as
it is with poisonous snakes. Lizards tend to hang on to their victims, making
them hard to remove once they have bitten. Dry bites, in which no venom is
released, may occur. But lizard bites are less likely to be dry than are
The force of the jaws of a lizard can cause a crushing, or
compression, injury. These injuries can cause severe swelling and may damage
underlying tissues, blood vessels, nerves, joints, or bones. The force may
cause the skin to split open or scrape off. Tissue may be damaged either from
the bite itself or from attempts to remove the lizard.
Symptoms at the site of a poisonous lizard bite may include:
- Moderate to severe
- Throbbing or burning pain.
- Swelling that
gradually gets worse over several hours.
- Teeth left in the
More general symptoms may include:
If you think you have been bitten by a poisonous lizard,
call911or other emergency services immediately.