Gila monsters are primarily desert dwellers, although they also inhabit semidesert grassland and woodland communities along mountain foothills. They prefer canyons or adjacent rocky slopes and more rarely open valleys. Their occurrence is strongly influenced by the availability of suitable microenvironments (boulders, burrows, pack rat middens, etc.) used as shelters, where they spend most of their time. Mexican beaded lizards inhabit primarily tropical dry forests and thorn-scrub, occurring less frequently in lower pine-oak woodlands. They frequent relatively open sandy and rocky arroyos, as well as densely vegetated upland hilly terrain and plateaus.

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