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The Gila Monster

Adaptations

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Special Adaptations of Gila monsters

Gila monsters have a different way of using their venom. They do not inject their venom like snakes. They have poison glands which are modified salivary glands. Gila monsters bite hard, leaving a wound 1/2 inch deep. The venom then empties in a fleshy groove on the teeth, then into the wound. Their jaws are like a vise grip and they hang on tight to let the venom flow into the wound. The Gila monster may even chew or tear the flsh to penetrate the poison further.

This animal has evolved to fit in well with its surroundings. The colorful, beadlkike skin of this creature is great camouflage in the desert. Its claws are great for digging burrows and for digging out other animals' eggs. The tongue is a very important feature. It helps the Gila monster to hunt and to receive information about its surroundings by the scent. These scents are transformed into a specialized taste organ called Jacobsen's organ. The fat storage in the tail has also prove to be very important to the survival of the Gila monster during times in which food supply is diminished.