We all know that the holiday season often brings us together with hard-to-get-along guests – but a Southern California family recently discovered a very unwelcomed visitor creeping around the parameters of their Rancho Bernardo home. No it wasn’t a crazed alcoholic uncle scoping out the eggnog bowl, it was a poisonous Gila monster.
Rare, venomous and usually found in the deserts of Arizona and Nevada, the two-foot long reptile was captured by San Diego Department of Animal Services – it’s awaiting its fate at the Carlsbad animal shelter. The Giorgettas found the critter while they were outdoors doing yard work on the day before Christmas Eve. The couple immediately called the authorities about the creature with black and yellow stripes and beaded skin.
Authorities can’t say how the critter got there since Gila monsters are pretty darn dangerous and illegal to possess without a permit. (We must note, however, that while these reptiles are chock full of poison, they pose little threat to humans because they are a slow-moving beastie.)
As the only venomous lizard in the United States, Gila monsters are a protected species.