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The Gila Monster
Food and Diet
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Food Gathering and Diet

In the wild Gila monsters eat small mammals, lizzards, frogs, insects, carrion, birds and bird's eggs. They hunt primarily with their sense of taste and smell instead of with their eyes. These predators smell its prey and tracks it. They flick their forked tongue to taste the secent particles that were left, like a trail, on the ground. The element of surprise is their key to successful hunting. They grab their pray and subdue it with their jaws and teeth. Most of their prey is small enough to overcome without venom. Nonetheles, venom flows into the bite wounds after infliction. Their venom attacks the nervous system and is strong enough to kill birds and mammals. This may be intensified as the Gila monster clamps down with the jaws and rolls over. It has been theorized that the venom of the Gila monster is used more as a defense mechanism.

Gila monsters are carnivores. They tend to be most active in the spring months when there is an abundance of the gila's favorite food, eggs. Eggs from several different species of ground nesting birds make up the majority of the gila monster diet at certain times of the year. Gila monsters are also known to favor the eggs of the desert tortoise, a federally threatened species. Other wild prey items include small mammals, such as baby rabbits.