United States

Colorado Man Dies Tragically After Pet Gila Monster Bites

Last human death cause due to venomous Gila monster bite was recorded in 1930.

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Man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster. Photo: Getty images
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Authorities in Colorado have confirmed the passing of a 34-year-old local resident, four days after being bitten by one of his two pet Gila monsters. The venomous reptiles, native to the southwestern United States, typically do not pose fatal threats to humans, but an allergic reaction may have contributed to the incident. The last recorded human death from such a bite dates back to 1930, highlighting the rarity of such occurrences.

Dr. Nick Brandehoff, a medical toxicologist and reptile expert, emphasized that while most bites result in local swelling and bleeding, the recent tragedy underscores the importance of respecting all venomous animals. The victim, whose identity remains undisclosed, owned two of these carnivorous reptiles, known as the largest lizards in the country, reaching lengths of about 22 inches.

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The Gila monster involved in the incident was a juvenile measuring approximately 12 inches long. Despite being promptly hospitalized, the victim succumbed to the effects of the bite the following Friday. While an autopsy has been conducted, further toxicology testing is underway to determine the precise cause of death.

Ownership of Gila monsters without a license is illegal in Colorado, although the man also possessed tarantulas, which are not prohibited. Colorado Parks and Wildlife authorities are taking action to remove the Gila monsters from the residence, with plans to transport them to a wildlife rehabilitation center. Additionally, the creature responsible for the bite will be transported to a lab at the University of Northern Colorado, where its venom will be extracted and studied in an effort to better understand the circumstances surrounding the tragic incident.

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