Feline Rescue

Kitten Development & Care

Catching a REAL Monster!

Catching a REAL Monster!

(fast paced drum music) – I’m Coyote Peterson, and I’m about to go underneath
a prickly pear cactus to have a face-to-face encounter with the only venomous
lizard in the United States. I absolutely love
my job, all right, this is gonna get interesting. (moves to dramatic violin music) (leopard snarl) (moves to fast paced drum music) (lion growl) (moves to gentle
xylophone music) (gravel rustling)
(wind blowing) This morning we’re
in Tucson, Arizona, headed out into the heartland of gila monster territory,
the Sonoran desert. We have been notified
by a local rancher that one of these rare lizards has taken up residence on
a hillside of his property. This time of day, gila monsters will emerge from their burrows to bask in the morning sun. What I wanna do is
stay hunkered down and watch from a
distance with binoculars. If this elusive reptile
does indeed reveal itself, I will have en
excellent opportunity to encounter this
notorious desert dweller. To do that, I will
quickly position myself between the lizard
and its burrow, and carefully capture
it with my bare hands. This will be the best
way for me to ensure the safety of the animal, while I show you some of
its most unique qualities. (moves to slow and
dramatic violin music) (camera gear shuffling) I see him. (gravel rustling) He’s out. (moves to dramatic drum music) And he’s underneath the
prickly pear cactus, which is gonna make it a
little more challenging, all right, he’s? All right he’s
moving a little bit, okay, this is gonna
be our opportunity, Chance, you go up this
way, Mark, follow me. (gravel rustling) There he is right there,
you see him, okay. From back here, look,
you can see him puffing. – [Crewman] Yeah. – You see his
tongue sticking out? Right there, look at his
head, right in the sunlight. And what I wanna do is carefully work my
way behind the lizard, try to create a barrier
between it and its den. All right. It’s turning back
towards its den, okay, I’m just gonna go. (gravel rustling)
– [Crewman] Yup. – All right, here
we go, there his is. All right, I got the den
behind me at this point. Now I’m gonna do, is
safely and gently, grab ahold of him
right behind his head, so that I don’t
risk getting bit. All right, ready? – [Crewman] Yup. – Okay, got him. Yes! Look at him, wow! Totally worth the stakeout. And that is the gila monster. The only venomous lizard
in the United States. These reptiles typically
are not very aggressive, it is not very often that people are bitten by gila monsters. And they say that only a fool who mishandles a gila
monsters, ever receives a bite. Now what’s really interesting about the tongue
of the gila monster is it’s forked,
just like a snake. They run that over what’s
called the Jacobson’s organ, on the top of the skull,
in the roof of the mouth. And that’s like
this gila monster’s little personal computer, that’s bringing all
sorts of chemicals from potential prey,
predators, and its environment. Now the venom glands
on this lizard are in the lower jaw. Your scales on the outside, and below that are
four venom glands. When they actually
find something that they’re going to
capture, bite, and envenomate, those teeth that they
have are not like fangs. They’re these long, kinda
sharp, monster-looking teeth, and when they grab onto
something, they gnaw and gnaw. And that gnawing works the
venom into their saliva, and then into their victim. Now the scientific name
of the gila monster, Heloderma, means
nail-studded skin. This lizard is absolutely
built for this desert terrain. All these little bumps
running down his back are actually little osteoderms, and osteoderms are little
tiny pieces of bone covered in scale. Now this guy pretty much has a bullet proof
vest on his back. Gila monsters are incredibly
intelligent reptiles. They will often follow
the trail of a mammal, and go right back to its burrow. Now if that mammal has babies
in the burrow, he’s got lunch. If it doesn’t have any babies, they will actually remember
where that burrow was at, and return several times until there’s something
in there to eat. And then of course,
they have their meal. (moves to dramatic violin music) If you’re unfortunate enough
to be bitten by a gila monster, it’s gonna be one of the most painful experiences
you’ve ever gone through, and the only way to get
this reptile off of you is to actually submerge
it into a bucket of water. Once it lets go, remember,
this is venomous, and you’re gonna
wanna get yourself to the hospital as
soon as possible. The venom’s not as
potent as a rattlesnake, but I’ll tell you what, they say it’s about as painful as lava coursing
through your veins. Wow, what an
incredible encounter, with the only venomous lizard that lives in the United States, one of my favorites. But I wanna know what
your favorite lizards are. Leave me your list in the
comment section below. I’m Coyote Peterson,
be brave, stay wild. We’ll see ya on
the next adventure. All right, I’ma put
this guy up in the shade so that he can cool
off back in his burrow, and we’re gonna go
get some ice cream. It’s scorching out here. (gravel rustling) If you thought this
episode was fascinating, make sure to go back and watch my most painful
encounter of all time, as I get the camera too close, and am accidentally
bitten by a gila monster. And don’t forget, subscribe so you can join me and the crew on this season of
Breaking Trail. (bear roar)
(bird wings fluttering) (birds chirping)
(coyote howl)

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