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a family of poisonous lizards. The trunk is spindle-shaped and compact, and the tail is short and thick. The length is up to 80 cm. The upper part of the body is covered with large tubercular scales. The coloring is mottled, with dark markings on an orange-red or whitish yellow background. The teeth are long and grooved. The submaxillary glands produce a poison that is lethal to small vertebrates; cases of death in humans are known.
The family’s two species, the gila monster (Helodermasuspectum) and the beaded lizard (H. horridum), are distributed from the southwestern USA to southwestern Mexico. They in habit arid, rocky foothills and semideserts. The lizards are crepuscular and nocturnal. They feed on insects, lizards, snakes, rodents, young birds, and birds’ and reptiles’ eggs. The female lays three to 12 eggs.