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Gila Monster Bite Kills Colorado Man Days Later

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Gila Monster Bite Kills Colorado Man Days Later

(CTN News) – The Gila monster, a pet owned by a Colorado man, bit the man and killed him.

On Feb. 12, the man’s girlfriend heard something that “didn’t sound right” coming from the other room. According to a report from local animal control, she went to check and saw the lizard latched onto Christopher Ward’s hand.

Upon exhibiting symptoms, Ward threw up several times, and then passed out and stopped breathing, according to the Lakewood Police Department report.

An attempt was made to save Ward’s life in a hospital. It was only a matter of days before doctors declared him brain dead.

A day after Ward’s bite, his girlfriend handed over Winston and Potato to Lakewood animal control.

According to the animal control officer’s report, Ward’s girlfriend told officers they bought Winston at a reptile exhibition in Denver in October and Potato from an Arizona breeder in November. The woman told officers in Lakewood, a suburb of Denver, that Gila monsters were illegal, and she wanted them out as soon as possible.

Representatives from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources sent the lizards to Reptile Gardens outside Rapid City.

The home also contained 26 different species of spiders that were taken away to a nearby animal shelter.

Gila monsters are what they sound like.

According to the National Park Service, Gila monsters are the largest lizards in the country.

A pink, orange, salmon, or yellowish color pattern can be seen on its bead-like scales, which can grow up to 22 inches long.

In the desert, carnivores live underground most of the time. Their range is primarily Arizona and Mexico, but they are also found in California’s extreme southeast corner, Nevada’s southern tip, and Utah and New Mexico’s southwestern corners.

Bite of the Gila monster

Among the world’s venomous lizards, the Gila monster is one of the rarest.

Smithsonian National Zoo reports that gila monster venom is about as toxic as western diamondback rattlesnake venom.

The lower jaw of Gila monsters produces relatively small amounts of venom when they bite, which is rare. The lizard, however, latches on for a longer period of time and begins to “chew”, introducing more venom.

When Ward was bitten, the Gila monster’s pet appeared to be latched on for a long time.

Children and people with other medical concerns might be at risk, but a reasonably healthy adult will probably not be killed by a bite.

In an email to The Associated Press, the local coroner declined to comment on Ward’s death, including whether venom from the pet contributed to Ward’s death.


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Salman Ahmad is a seasoned writer for CTN News, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the platform. With a knack for concise yet impactful storytelling, he crafts articles that captivate readers and provide valuable insights. Ahmad's writing style strikes a balance between casual and professional, making complex topics accessible without compromising depth.

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