Mexican Beaded Lizard

Mexican beaded lizard (Copyright © RVC)

Scientific name: Heloderma horridum


The Mexican beaded lizard is similar in appearance to its close relative the Gila monster and is also poisonous. It has a more elongated body and longer tail than the Gila monster and lacks the enlarged cloacal scales and light colouring to the head. The beaded lizard has a black background coloration with sparse yellow markings.


Pacific coastal Mexico and Guatemala


The diet is similar to that of the Gila monsters. In the wild, they feed on a variety of small mammals and the eggs of birds and reptiles. In captivity they need a diet rich in protein and calcium. The diet should include freshly killed rodents, eggs, chopped meat and bone meal. Supplementation is recommended.


Care of the Mexican beaded lizard in captivity is the same as that recommended for the Gila monsters, but since it is a bigger lizard it requires more commodious quarters. Vivariums with a large floor space of at least 200 x 150 x 100 cm are necessary. Provide suitable rocks and retreats for the lizards. A thermostatically controlled ceramic heat source, or alternatively a spotlight, can provide heating with the appropriate wattage. Provide a low dish of water for soaking.


Daytime temperatures of 29-35ºC. Night-time temperatures should not fall below 23ºC.

Literature Search

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Mexican Beaded Lizard (Heloderma horridum) publications