Man Bitten at Saguaro National Park by Gila Monster
Not only shouldn't you pose next to bison in Yellowstone National Park, but if you're visiting Saguaro National Park don't try to make friends with poisonous gila monsters. That lesson was painfully delivered to a 24-year-old man.
The man wandered into the park on June 25 and, spying a gila monster, picked it up because – as he later told rangers – "it wanted to be friends." The man then placed the gila on his shoulders, whereupon it promptly bit him on the neck. While trying to shed the animal, it bit him once more on the hand.
Then, according to rangers, he picked it up and wrapped it in a piece of clothing. A park volunteer encountered the man walking on a roadway adjacent to the park and asked if he needed help. The man told the volunteer what had happened, then showed him the gila.
Rangers were summoned; when they arrived, they found the man vomiting and complaining of difficulty breathing. He was transported by ambulance to a Tucson area hospital, where he was admitted for treatment of the bites, heat exhaustion and severe dehydration.
The gila, apparently uninjured, was returned to the park.
This was the park's second gila bite incident this year. Gila monsters are native to the American southwest and northern Mexico and are the only venomous lizard native to the United States. These heavy, slow-moving lizards can grow up to two feet long and can weigh up to three pounds. Because of their slowness, they rarely present a threat to humans.