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The amazing Mexican Beaded Lizards are quite unique among the reptiles!

The Beaded Lizard Heloderma horridum is a spectacle to behold. The size and sheer beauty of this lizard are more than enough to make any intermediate to experienced herp keeper fascinated. Though it is a venomous reptile and its scientific name means "horrible studded lizard", it is a true showpiece.

The Mexican Beaded Lizard is one of two species of venomous lizards in the family Helodermatidae Both species are similar in appearance and habits, but its cousin, the Gila Monster Heloderma suspectum, is slightly smaller and more colorful.

No other lizards have been have been so immersed in myth and mystery as these two Helodermatidae lizards. Possibly because of their rather secretive lifestyles. They spend a good deal of their time in their burrows and their habitats are very remote.

CAUTION: These are
In many areas, these lizards may only be kept with a license.

The keeping of venomous reptiles is restricted and/or regulated in many localities. Check with your state and city authorities for requirements.

Other factors that make the Beaded Lizard and the Gila Monster so mysterious could be that they are poisonous lizards, as well as being the sole survivors of an ancient group of lizards, the Monstersauria. They have been two of the least understood and least studied of the lizard species, though they have been regularly kept by herp enthusiasts for several decades.

Mexican Beaded Lizards do not make good "pets". But for a serious herp enthusiast, their habits and environment requirements make them ideally suited for captivity and visual enjoyment. Despite their size, they don't require a lot of area for activity, and they are relatively easy to keep.

Do exercise caution when handling this lizard. Both species of Heloderma are sluggish in habit, but they have a strong, tenacious bite...with a 'bulldog' attitude of not wanting to readily let go.

The beaded lizards are beautiful animals, and the Mexican Beaded Lizard can be very enjoyable to the experienced herp keeper. They require permits to be owned in many states, and in some states, while the state may not have a law, the city may have regulations regarding these animals.

What's in a name?



"studded skin"



Scientific Name: Heloderma horridum

"horrible studded lizard"!

Scientific NameHeloderma horridum

  • Mexican Beaded Lizard Heloderma horridum horridum
  • Black Beaded Lizard Heloderma horridum alvarezi
  • Rio Fuerte Beaded Lizard Heloderma horridum exasperatum
  • Montagua Valley Beaded Lizard Heloderma horridum charlesbogerti

Habitat: Distribution/BackgroundThe Beaded Lizard Heloderma horridum was first described by Wiegmann in 1829. Mexican Beaded Lizards are found throughout central and western Mexico from latitude 25 southward to northern Central America. They inhabit thorn scrub and pine forests, as well as tropical forest. They spend a vast majority of their time in their dens or burrows.

There are four subspecies of Beaded Lizard, found in the following ranges:

  1. Mexican Beaded Lizard Heloderma h. horridum, the nominate Beaded Lizard subspecies, are found in Mexico, from Sonora to Oaxaca.
  2. Black Beaded Lizard Heloderma h. alvarezi, described by Bogert and Martin del Campo in 1956, are found in the in the northern Chiapas regions of Mexico to northwestern Guatemala.
  3. Rio Fuerte Beaded Lizard Heloderma h. exasperatum, also described by Bogert and Martin del Campo in 1956, are found in Mexico from southern Sonora to northern Sinaloa.
  4. Montagua Valley Beaded Lizard Heloderma h. charlesbogerti, described by Campbell and Vannini in 1988, are found in the north-east of Guatemala.

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