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Mexican Beaded Lizard

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Species group:

Other common names: Mexican beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum horridum); Black beaded lizard (H. h. alvarezi); Rio Fuerte beaded lizard (H. h. xasperatum); Motagua Valley beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum charlesbogerti)

Scientific name: Heloderma horridum

The basics:
The Beaded lizard is a species of venomous lizard found in Mexico and southern Guatemala. Their habitat is primarily tropical deciduous forest and pine-oak forest, with elevations from sea level to 1500 meters. In the wild, the animals are only active from April to mid-November, spending about an hour per day above the ground.

The Beaded Lizard is poached for resale through the illegal exotic animal trade. It does not reproduce well in captivity, and its scarcity means a high price for collectors. As a direct result, the Beaded Lizard is protected by Mexican law under the category A (Threatened), and it dwells within the range of several protected areas. In Guatemala it is protected by national legislation, and part of their range is within protected areas. It is listed on Appendix II of CITES.

The Beaded Lizard has one close living relative, the Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum). There are four subspecies of beaded lizard: the Mexican beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum horridum); Black beaded lizard (H. h. alvarezi); Rio Fuerte beaded lizard (H. h. xasperatum); and the Motagua Valley beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum charlesbogerti).

Appearance / health:
The Beaded Lizard is larger than the Gila Monster but has duller coloration, black with yellowish bands of differing width depending on the subspecies.

Housing:
The Beaded Lizard is larger than the Gila Monster and grows to about 13-18 inches (32.5-45cm) in length and weighs around 5 pounds (2.3kg). It has a black body with yellowish bands of differing width depending on the subspecies. The bumpy skin along with the contrast of the spots and stripes makes the lizard appear to have beads. The Beaded Lizard can live upwards of thirty years.

Diet:
The beaded lizard is a specialized vertebrate nest predator feeding primarily on bird and reptile eggs. A semi-arboreal species, it is found climbing deciduous trees in search of prey when encountered above ground.

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