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Beaded lizard

Heloderma horridum

The two best known venomous lizards are the gila monster and the beaded lizard. The venom glands are found in the reptile's lower jaw. The lizard chews its prey and the venom enters the prey along grooves in the lizard’s teeth.

The venom can be fatal to small mammals but rarely in humans. However, a painful swelling is common along with sweating and a rapid fall in blood pressure. The venom has been found to contain several enzymes useful for manufacturing drugs in the treatment of diabetes, and scientists are continuing to look at whether the venom can be used in the treatment of other diseases. The beaded lizard's body length is 80 centimetres and can weigh up to 8 kilograms.

You can find our beaded lizards in the zoo’s Reptile House.

IUCN Status


The IUCN status of the beaded lizard is least concern.

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Animal class


Conservation status

Beaded lizards are of least concern however their population is threated by habitat destruction and human persecution because of their venom.


Forest – found from western Mexico to south east Guatemala.


Beaded lizard population is currently in decline.


Carnivore - eats mammals, birds, lizards, frogs, insects and eggs.

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