The Gila Monster is the only venomous lizard native to the United States and one of only two known species of venomous lizards in North America, the other being its close relative, the Mexican Beaded Lizard. Although venomous, its sluggish nature means the Gila Monster represents little threat to humans. However, it has earned a fearsome reputation, and is sometimes killed despite being protected by statute. The name “Gila” refers to the Gila River Basin in the southwestern U.S., where the Gila Monster was once plentiful. They inhabit scrubland, succulent desert, and oak woodland, seeking shelter in burrows, thickets, and under rocks in locations with ready access to moisture. Gila Monsters seem to like water and can be observed immersing themselves in puddles after a summer rain. They avoid living in open areas such as flats and farmland.