One may wonder, who likes lizards? But the interests of people are as diverse as the number of people on the planet and sometimes, people pursue professions according to their interests.
And when something happens related to the thing they’re passionate about, they can get really excited as this biologist did when he hyperventilated on seeing a rare Gila monster:
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Video credit: Rumble
The team of biologists was out on the Arizona desert in the middle of the night searching for several species of reptiles and snakes that they wanted to study in the hopes of aiding conservation efforts. But no one expected an encounter with a very rare specimen, the Gila monster.
They’re rarely seen in the wild and some biologists will never see one in their entire career. This team of Canadian scientists realized just how lucky they were and one was even heard calling a colleague to share the news. As is typical among Canadians, he apologized to his friend for missing out on the amazing encounter.
The team frantically photographs, measures, and collects data while not impeding the lizard from going on its way. In fact, at no point did they come in physical contact with the animals at all.
Scientists, they may be but they are human at heart and one of the biologists named Steve could be heard hyperventilating from excitement. It happened as the animal was retreating into the bush.
But Steve had every reason to be excited because their excursion succeeded in more ways than they could have imagined at the start. Their goal was to gather enough data to aid in conservation efforts and the fact that they were able to encounter a rare animal only underlined the importance of their mission.
A lot of legal measures have been enacted in order to protect Gila monsters but myths and misunderstandings have put these “monsters” into the threatened species category in the IUCN. While it’s true that they are venomous and that their saliva has a powerful toxin, it’s not strong enough to seriously harm a person.
At most, a Gila monster bite would make a healthy person sick for a few days. But it’s unlikely the lizards will ever attack a human unless provoked or handled carelessly. And humans who are actively trying to avoid it will be safe because these lizards are slow and can never hope to catch up.
Gila monsters do have sharp teeth that can really hurt and they can tenaciously hold on if they feel like it. But keeping a respectful distance is all that one needs to avoid such mishaps.
The only real risk is for people like Steve who can pass out from the excitement of actually meeting a live Gila monster.
The medical community is also interested in the Gila monster because its venom has shown promise in inhibiting the growth of lung cancer. The lizard’s venom has also been used to treat diabetes. A host of other possible illnesses that the venom could treat are also being researched right now such as Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and others.
Unfortunately, habitat destruction and the irrational fear of some people threaten the long-term survival of the Gila monster. The potentially life-saving uses of its venom in medicines could be lost forever if we’re not careful.