Native American bird and animal symbols and totems are believed to represent the physical form of a spirit helper and guide. The Gila monster (pronounced hee-la) is a large lizard and one of only two truly venomous lizards in the world, the other being the closely related Mexican beaded lizard. The Gila monster is believed to be able to go a year or more without food or water and spend up to spend 95% of their time underground. For additional information please refer to the Meanings of Animal Symbols.
Meaning of the Gila Monster Symbol
The meaning of the Gila Monster symbol was to signify preservation and survival and used as a sign of the desert. The Gila monster had different meanings according to tribal traditions. The Apache tribe believed that its breath could kill a man and the Pima believed that it possessed a spiritual power that could cause sickness but the Seri and the Yaqui tribes believed that the hide of the Gila monster had healing properties. Venom from the Gila Monster was used to poison darts and arrows to deadly effect - refer to Bows and Arrows - Poisoned Arrows.