MESA, Ariz. — A shy Gila monster was recently found hiding inside a new home in Mesa, requiring an expert to come in and safely relocate the venomous animal to another location.
Rattlesnake Solutions, a company specializing in safely removing venomous reptiles from Valley homes, was recently dispatched to the East Valley for reports of a Gila monster lurking around a recently-built property.
In a video posted Wednesday of the incident, the Gila monster was discovered hiding behind a collection of picture frames stacked up against the wall in one of the home's hallways.
Staff at Rattlesnake Solutions retrieved the animal with an instrument and placed the lizard inside a bucket until it could be relocated to a secluded area.
Bryan Hughes, owner of Rattlesnake Solutions, said it's "exceptionally rare" to find Gila monsters inside a residence. It probably happened after somebody left a door open, he added, so the Gila monster was likely drawn to the home's cool, air-conditioned environment.
"We're just thankful that the homeowner was so rational about it all and allowed us to do our thing and get it back out to the desert where it can stay safe and healthy," Hughes said.
Gila monsters are the only venomous lizard that are native to the United States and are primarily found throughout the Southwest. Known for their sluggish, slow-moving nature, the lizards tend to eat bird eggs, insects, or small mammals.
A Gila monster's venom is considered to be as toxic as a Western diamondback rattlesnake, according to the Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute. But rather than inject its venom through fangs, the Gila monster chews venom in through capillary action along the grooves of its teeth.
Arizona's laws protect Gila monsters from being captured or harassed by humans, according to the National Park Service.
More information about services offered by Rattlesnake Solutions can be found here.
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