AZ Game & Fish reminder its illegal to own or sell Gila monsters - Tucson News Now

AZ Game & Fish reminder its illegal to own or sell Gila monsters

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Arizona Game and Fish Department officials are sending out a warning to the public that owning or selling a Gila monster is illegal; Gila monsters are known to come out from their underground dens when the monsoons begin.

According to AZ Game and Fish owning a Gila monster is illegal without a permit and that selling these animals is also illegal.  Both are considered misdemeanor charges, with a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $750 fine.

There are only two exceptions for owning a Gila monster and both require a valid permit, one is for educational purposes and the second is to hold as a wildlife rehabilitator.

“Arizona reptiles cannot be sold, even if taken lawfully. But it’s also important for the public to understand that possession of any wildlife requires proof that it is being held legally,” said Regional Supervisor Raul Vega of Game and Fish in Tucson, in a recent release. “That also applies to most rattlesnakes, up to four of which may be held with a valid hunting license, as well as Desert tortoises, which are legal to possess through our Adopt-A-Tortoise program with the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.”

For those who observe a wildlife violation they are asked to call Arizona Game and Fish's 'Operation Game Thief' at (800) 352-0700, it can be reported anonymously if necessary.  The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Information may also be provided online at http://www.azgfd.gov/ogt_form.shtml

If bitten by a Gila monster remain calm and quickly remove it by using an object to pry its jaws open; remove jewelry, watches and restrictive clothing from the bite area; immobilize the bite below the heart (if possible) and seek immediate medical treatment.

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