Gila Monsters are one of the few animals at the Zoo that are not native to the Navajo Nation. They are found in lower-elevation deserts in the southern parts of Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona and New Mexico. This large, stocky lizard can grow up to 2 feet in length. Gila Monsters are venomous. They inflict a nerve toxin (venom) into prey and potential predators with a strong chewing action. This lizard is mostly nocturnal, feeding on small mammals, birds and eggs during the nighttime.
Gila Monster is named "Tiníléí" in the Navajo Language. It is said that Gila Monster posses mystical power, and its name is used as prayer in one ceremoney. Gila Monster is respected and greatly honored by the Navajo People, and is used by Navajo medicine men to diagnose ailments.