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AZ Press:Reptile invasion in the Valley

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Posted by: W von Papinešu at Fri Apr 21 21:39:31 2006  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papinešu ]  
   

SAN PEDRO VALLEY NEWS-SUN (Benson, Arizona) 19 April 06 Reptile invasion in the Valley (Thelma Grimes)
After collecting a gila monster and a rattlesnake last week, Paul Teza, Benson Animal Control Supervisor, said residents need to be on alert now that it is warmer.
The gila monster was collected at a home on Ridge Drive, Teza said. The lizard was in a back yard where children were playing, he said.
Usually calm, a gila monster can become dangerous if threatened, according to the reptile and amphibian fact sheet provided online by the National Zoological Park.
It is one of only two venomous lizards. The other is the Mexican beaded lizard. It can bite quickly if threatened and will hold on. Rather than injecting venom with fangs like that of a rattlesnake, the lethal liquid is injected through grooved teeth in the lower jaw.
Teza said he has seen a lot of nesting areas for gila monsters in South Benson and warns residents to contact the animal shelter at 586-3600 immediately if one is spotted.
Residents are also warned not to handle the large lizard.
This is the first Gila Monster of the season. Last year, seven were removed from residential areas, Teza said.
Gila monsters are not destroyed after they are removed from certain areas, Teza said. Because they are an endangered species, they are released in a more suitable desert environment, he said.
On Friday, Teza removed a rattlesnake from a wash near Beaudry Motors on State Route 80. The snake is about 3.5 feet long.
Any time a rattlesnake is spotted, Teza said residents should immediately call the police or the animal shelter. Rattlesnakes can become aggressive if threatened, and residents are warned to leave them alone and contact authorities to handle the situation.
Rattlesnakes are usually destroyed after they are captured.
Twenty rattlesnakes were caught and destroyed last year, Teza said.
Reptile invasion in the Valley


   

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