Beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum)

Beaded Lizard

Find us inside Cold Blooded Corner with a host of other fascinating creatures.

Fast facts

Status Least Concern

Size 0.7 – 1.0 metres

Weight 1.4 – 2 kg

Gestation 6 – 12 months

Young 3 – 13 per clutch

Life span Usually 20 – 30 years

What do I eat?

Beaded lizards are carnivores; they usually feed on young birds, chicks and eggs. The beaded lizard can survive on one meal for a long time by storing fat in its tail.

Where do I live?

The beaded lizard is found along western Mexico and south-eastern Guatemala. It is most commonly found in tropical deciduous forest and is usually hidden in burrows during the day, becoming more active at night (nocturnal).


Males will fight with one another prior to breeding; the winner of the fight will be given access to the female whilst the loser must retreat. Females will dig a hole to deposit her eggs into and after this task her role as mother is done! The young will emerge from the eggs fully developed and able to defend themselves from threats.


Main predators of the beaded lizard include coyotes and some raptorial birds.

To protect itself the beaded lizard can use its venom to subdue potential predators.


This species is threatened by deforestation and loss of habitat, as well as being caught and sold in the pet trade and deliberately killed by humans from fear of the its venom.

The beaded lizard is protected by law and trade in this species is restricted.They are found in various protected areas across their range.

Did you know?

The beaded lizard is one of only two venomous lizards in the world (the other being the Gila monster)!

The latin name of the beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum) translates as horrible studded lizard!

The skin of the beaded lizard is covered in tiny beads and each bead contains a tiny piece of bone, giving the beaded lizard armour-plated skin!

Newly hatched beaded lizards can be up to 20cm long!


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