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  1. Anatomy
  2. Venom
  3. Clinical presentation
  4. Management
    1. Prehospital care
    2. Hospital care
  5. Morbidity and mortality
  6. References

The two venomous lizards of the world are impressive creatures about which much misinformation has been spread for centuries. They have been thought to possess supernatural features such as poisonous breath, a stinging tail and the ability to spit their venom. The Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) reaches a maximum length of approximately 50 cm, whereas the beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum) is larger, reaching almost a meter. They are both heavily built and possess massive muscles of mastication with powerful biting capacity. The venom delivery apparatus consists of a pair of anterior, multilobed, interior labial glands that open through a series of ducts into the labial mucosa. Their teeth are lancet shaped, grooved, and loosely attached to the jaws. When the reptile becomes agitated, it salivates heavily, producing a flow of venom into the labial mucosa. It bites with a powerful, chewing motion, instilling venom into the wounds by capillary action along the grooves of the teeth. Teeth may be left in the wounds, especially if the lizard must be forcefully removed from the victim. The tenacious creature may still be attached when help arrives. Effective envenomation occurs in only about 70% of bites.

[...] Data are minimal regarding prehospital care of venomous lizard bites. In some cases the first priority is to detach the lizard from the victim. The lizard can be placed under running hot water, or the jaws can be pried apart using a stick or metal instrument. Care must be taken not to injure the victim further and to avoid a second bite, perhaps to the rescuer. Once freed from the lizard, the victim should be placed at rest and the bite site rinsed and cleaned as much as possible. [...]


[...] VENOMOUS LIZARDS Anatomy The two venomous lizards of the world are impressive creatures about which much misinformation has been spread for centuries. They have been thought to possess supernatural features such as poisonous breath, a stinging tail and the ability to spit their venom. The Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) reaches a maximum length of approximately 50 cm, whereas the beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum) is larger, reaching almost a meter. They are both heavily built and possess massive muscles of mastication with powerful biting capacity. [...]

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