Same Gila Monster, Same Hole, 10 Years Later

Roger Repp reports a story of site fidelity in the Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum). Here is the story.

Many of you suffered through a THS presentation that I made back in July of 2010, and a few more of you suffered worse at an AHA presentation I did last week. During the course of the presentation, I showed a Gila Monster that I have been quietly watching the past several years.

I used the following characters to demonstrate that this has been the same monster year after year:

1. Butterfly (head)

2. Lazy M (~neck)

3. Donald Duck (duck-shaped marking looking up at lazy M)

4. 5 zits (grouping of 5 dots at the end of the lazy M)

5. Ohio (just behind 5 zits--note how Columbus has grown through the years)

We can add many more, like the thumb about to plunge into the east side of Ohio,and four more zits to the north, etc. Now a history lesson. On 26 November 2000, Bill Montgomery, Gordon Schuett and I found a Gila Monster community on a place we call Hill 97. We were able to grab two Gilas from one hole for a DNA sample. I took pic 1 on this day.I kept checking the holes we found this and other Gila Monsters in that day. They remained empty until December of 2004. Since that time, every year since, one or more Gila Monsters have been in the area. Last Friday, 26 November 2010, I went back to Hill 97. I found "Lazy M" again--exactly ten years to the day from the first sighting. I've heard a lot of people make claims of 20 plus years for wild Gilas in holes. Having seen what I've seen, I believe these claims. But proving them is damn hard to do!

Top photo: Gila Monster "Lazy M" 26 November 2000. Bottom photo: "Lazy M" 26 November 2010
Best to all, roger


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