Creatures that bite and sting

We were sitting on the porch, looking out over the wash, the mountains and enjoying the birds who come to feed in our yard.  Common birds include house finches, lesser goldfinches, white winged doves, mourning doves, cactus wrens, verdins, curve billed thrashers and the gila woodpeckers, who always loudly announce their presence before drinking deeply from the swaying hummingbird feeders.

“Look at that giant lizard!” called my husband.

I didn’t expect to see a gila monster at the top of our courtyard wall.  It’s our first sighting. I heard the neighbor next door open his sliding door and I called his name.  He was delighted- although he scooped up his tiny dog as he told us this was only his second time in 80 years that he’d seen one.

They are protected by law- no collecting, shooting, harming, trapping.  I was amazed at how slowly he moved and how long his claws were.  We noticed no birds were to be seen in the yard as apparently they eat them occasionally.  Wikipedia says they only eat five or six times a year.  I didn’t want to get too close- Wikipedia also had plenty on the subject of painful, poisonous bites so I took a few pictures before heading back inside.

So I can more to the list of “creatures that bite and sting” in our yard-

Heloderma suspectum

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