Pet Gila monster bites man, who dies in what experts call a "rare event" - FaunaClassifieds
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Herps In The News Local or national articles where reptiles or amphibians have made it into the news media. Please cite sources.

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Old 02-20-2024, 10:20 AM   #1
Pet Gila monster bites man, who dies in what experts call a "rare event"

Old 02-20-2024, 01:33 PM   #2
Martin Nowak
Hopefully the complete autopsy results will be available.
Old 03-12-2024, 04:41 PM   #3
Tragic news indeed. While Gila monsters are fascinating creatures, their bites can be lethal due to venomous saliva. Such incidents serve as sobering reminders of the importance of handling exotic pets with caution and seeking professional guidance. Let's learn from this rare event to prevent future tragedies.
Old 03-12-2024, 08:53 PM   #4
Martin Nowak
I think we have to be cautious with assumptions about Gila bites and this case. Rather than give a citation at each sentence - I list references at the end of my comments.

I would be interested in credible citations that "their bites can be lethal due to venomous saliva". Even the singular 1930's death attributed to a Gila bite was not discussed in medical literature because of uncertainty in the actual cause of death. As noted above - it will be best to await the autopsy report. And perhaps the venom alone killed the man.
Or the venom in combination with other circumstances killed him. Or perhaps he died of an MI after being bitten. We just don't know as readers of the news stories. Experts are speculating that an allergy to the venom may have caused his death. A number of Gila bites have occurred in the last 100 years but none verified as having killed the victim. Very few (in fact very rare) deaths occur from copperhead bites as the venom (like Gila venom) is of low toxicity. Yet, in the last decade or so two individuals have died from allergy to the copperhead venom. The news media have not reported if the victim was an experienced or inexperienced Gila owner. Apparently he owned at least one illegally - but we don't know his skill with the species.
Allergy to lab rodents is quite common and is a known hazard for lab workers. Not commonly, but lab workers do succumb to anaphylaxis to the rodents. In such cases we don't say "the rats and mice killed the victim"; we say "an allergy to the rats and mice killed the victim". In any event, seems to me we await the full autopsy report to be better informed and learn.
Old 03-18-2024, 01:32 PM   #5
Martin Nowak
March 15, 2024 update. AP news media provides only a limited amount of the autopsy report. Would be useful to have the full report.

"The autopsy, conducted by the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office on Feb. 18, said Ward was bitten for four minutes and wavered in and out of consciousness for about two hours before seeking medical attention. He suffered multiple seizures and acute respiratory failure at the hospital."

"She told officers Ward “immediately began exhibiting symptoms, vomiting several times and eventually passing out and ceasing to breathe,” according to the report. She also said she and Ward bought Winston at a reptile exhibition in Denver in October and Potato from a breeder in Arizona in November."

"Before Ward, the last person to die of a Gila monster bite, around 1930, may have had cirrhosis of the liver, said Arizona State University professor Dale DeNardo, a Gila monster enthusiast who has studied the reptiles for decades."
Old 03-21-2024, 01:48 PM   #6
Martin Nowak
March 15, 2024
Autopsy Report:

"Two underlying health conditions were listed as "significant contributing factors" in his cause of death, according to an autopsy report."
"died from "complications" from the lizard's venom"
"It (autopsy report) also lists an enlarged heart and a fatty liver as "significant contributing factors" and ruled his manner of death as an accident."
"The autopsy report also indicates that medical attention was not sought until an hour and a half to two hours after the man was bitten."
The victim was age 34.
Old 03-30-2024, 09:06 AM   #7
Sad thing is general public will not take allergies, health complications into account. All they know is a venomous animal killed a human and demand protection. Before info came out I had told people at work that he may have had allergic reaction like some people do to bee venom and most people were freaked out he had a venomous lizard.

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