Captive Reproduction


Gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum) are notoriously one of the more difficult reptile species to breed in captivity. Several breeders across the world have mastered what it takes, but it seems widespread success remains elusive to most. I have a small group of Gilas to work with (currently 4.4 / 4 males, 4 females), and thus have a different perspective than some of the large-scale breeders. Kind of like brewing beer at home, the smaller “batches” require much more attention to detail as the smallest mistake can ruin years of effort. I will discuss some of my ideas, successes, and failures on captive breeding here, and will modify the information presented as time goes on with observations on future breeding seasons. Each year brings its own challenges, and I look forward to going on this journey with you as we learn more about these amazing reptiles!

First and foremost, before breeding Gila monsters please check out the Captive Care page and make sure you are starting with captive-born, healthy adults before attempting to breed. There are so many things that can go wrong you need to eliminate all controllable factors in order to evaluate your program. Second, read every bit of information you can on the subject. Every breeder has different perspectives and insights and as you study many common threads in each breeder’s program will become apparent which will help form your success. I can say from personal experience that it does take years to build a solid group of Gila monsters ready to successfully breed. You can get lucky by buying an adult group, but again if you fail there are so many unknown variables you will have to start from square one to get repeated success.