Gila monsters are my very favorite Southwestern lizards and among the most thrilling Arizona animal encounters (my heart legitimately races with glee every time)!  Gila monsters are widely known to be among only two species of venomous lizards, the Mexican beaded lizard being the other.  New research, however, suggests that there may be a plethora of others!  These robust giants can reach 2 feet in length and spend much of their lives underground, emerging only briefly around April / May, and again during the summer monsoons.  For this reason, they tend to rarely be encountered and very little is understood about the behavior of gila monsters.  Horned lizards, however, are only a small step behind in the excitement department!  To our knowledge, all horned lizards rely primarily on ants, some depending largely upon a single species for sustenance.  Horned lizards rely mostly on camouflage for survival, but will feint death or even shoot blood out of their eyes as a desperate, last-ditch measure to escape becoming dinner.  These incredible creatures are pillars of the Southwest.  Sadly, they have suffered extensively at the hands of humans.  Excessive development combined with capture for the pet trade have dreadfully diminished their numbers.  Long-term Tucson residents will speak of the days when horny toads could easily be found in the middle of the city, but those days are now bygone.  We need to treat this planet far better, along with all of her incredible inhabitants!  Should you cross paths with gila monsters or horned lizards in the wild, please resist the temptation to catch or harass them.  Unless we dramatically change our ways and show more respect to these creatures, there may eventually come a day when they are no longer present in the wild.  I very much hope to never see that day, so save yourself the hefty fines (gilas and some horned lizards being federally protected), appreciate their beauty, and take only pictures, please!