Gila monster lizard’s poison helps diabetics

This video from the USA is called The Gila Monster – AMAZING Venomous Lizard Encounter!

From The Herald in Britain:

Lizard’s poison may be boon for diabetics

It is one of only two venomous lizards in the world, but the Gila Monster could become an unlikely boon for the health of tens of thousands of Scots.

The poison of the large reptile, native to Mexico and the southern United States, has been found to contain a chemical similar to a human hormone that helps regulate the blood sugar level of diabetics.

Two feet long, with a diet comprising small mammals and birds, the lizard is an unlikely source of medicine.

Gila monster

This month, a new type 2 diabetes drug, exenatide, based on the chemical from the garish pink and black lizard, Heloderma suspectum, is available in the UK.

In Scotland, around 150,000 people suffer type 2 diabetes while a further 60,000 are estimated to have the disease without being aware of it.

The number of people with the illness is expected to increase by half over the next decade, partly because of rising obesity. …

“The Gila Monster only eats three or four times a year, and a compound produced in its salivary glands called exendin-4 may help it digest these meals very slowly over time. That is an advantageous quality when translated into controlling diabetes.”

Wild populations of the Gila Monster and its cousin the Beaded Lizard – also poisonous – are declining rapidly because of habitat loss and illegal hunting for the pet trade.


10 thoughts on “Gila monster lizard’s poison helps diabetics

  1. Lizard’s valley habitat dwindling
    Protection sought for flat-tailed horned lizard

    Marcel Honoré • The Desert Sun • July 5, 2009

    It’s the small, reptilian Zen master of the Coachella Valley: a 4-inch long lizard that hides from predators by lying still on its belly to become “one with the sand,” as one local ecologist put it.

    Unfortunately, its camouflage act can’t protect it from human encroachment.

    The flat-tailed horned lizard, a curious-looking reptile that resembles a miniature iguana, used to thrive in the local desert.

    Urban development, agriculture and off-road vehicle recreation, however, have invaded 95 percent of the lizard’s historical valley habitat, according to University of California Riverside Palm Desert Graduate Center ecologist Cameron Barrows.

    “We really need to keep an eye on this one,” Barrows said recently as he scanned the dunes for tracks left by the lizards during an outing to a Thousand Palms preserve.

    That 2,000-acre area is the last place where the miniature lizards remain in the valley, Barrows said.

    Several conservation groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, worry the species is trending toward extinction across its entire Sonoran Desert habitat, which includes southwestern Arizona and northern Mexico.

    The Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, enacted last year, aims to protect what’s left of the flat-tailed horned lizard’s dwindling local population.

    A recent federal court decision gives worried conservation groups reason to hope.

    In May, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider listing the flat-tailed horned lizard as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

    Adding the lizard would obligate Fish and Wildlife to protect its habitat from further development and make sure the species isn’t pushed to “the brink of extinction,” said Ileene Anderson, a biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity.

    The court ruling follows efforts dating back to 1993 by groups such as Defenders of Wildlife and Center for Biological Diversity to convince the federal government to add the lizard to the Endangered Species Act.


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