Lakewood, Colorado – The Gila monster, a venomous lizard native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, has been in the spotlight recently after a 34-year-old man in Lakewood, CO died from a lethal bite from his pet Gila monster. The incident highlights the dangers of owning exotic pets and the importance of respecting these animals’ venomous capabilities.

Deadly Venom

The Gila monster’s venom is a powerful hemotoxin that can cause blood pressure to crash rapidly, leading to severe consequences, including death. While deadly bites are rare, they can occur when the animal feels threatened or mistakes a handler’s actions for a threat. Dr. Steven Mackenzie, a professor of biology at the University of Northern Colorado, notes that the venom is so potent that it has been used in some type 2 diabetes treatments.

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Handling with Care

Despite their docile demeanor, Gila monsters are not to be trifled with. They have strong jaw closing muscles, allowing them to hold on tightly, and can become agitated if mishandled. Dr. Mackenzie emphasizes the importance of respecting these animals and handling them with caution, even when they appear calm.

Illegal to Own

In Lakewood and many other areas, owning a Gila monster is illegal without a special permit. The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of following local regulations and considering the risks and responsibilities involved in owning exotic pets.

In conclusion, the Gila monster’s deadly bite is a sobering reminder of the importance of respecting these animals’ power and handling them with care. While they may appear docile, their venom is potent and can have devastating consequences.

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