Gila Monster found in sideyard of Scottsdale home

- Life in the Grand Canyon State can get interesting at times, especially when it comes to wildlife.

It's not uncommon to see rattlesnakes, coyotes, and scorpions in our desert environment, but a Valley family recently had a run-in with a Heloderma suspectum.

In other words, a Gila Monster.

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Around 3:30 p.m., Scottsdale firefighters with Station 615 got a call from a woman living near Scottsdale and Asher Hills, saying there was a Gila Monster in her sideyard. The woman reportedly had dogs, who alerted her to the presence of the GIla Monster.

"We get there, and it's hissing at us," said Jim Dooley with Scottsdale Fire. "We just kinda used the bucket to get him to walk into the bucket. He barely fit. It's bigger than our bucket."

Dooley said in his 23 years on the department, he has never seen one so big.

"It was about 22, 23 inches long," said Dooley. "It was big."

Daniel Marchand with the Phoenix Herpetological Society said now is the time when Gila Monsters are out, but only for a short time. The animal, according to Marchand, spend most of their time underground.

"They can spend 90 to 95% of their life underground," said Marchand. "You don't see them very often."

Marchand said Gila Monsters are harmless in most cases, but they are venomous, and it can bite.

There has, however, been no deaths every associated with a Gila Monster bite, and the bites are reportedly not designed to kill.

People who encounter a Gila Monster are urged to leave it alone, and call the Herpetological Society.

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