Archeologists have found Gila monster petroglyphs in archeological sites throughout the western United States. Some native American tribes believed that the Gila monster possessed special healing powers due to its skin, while others believed that the lizards possessed spiritual powers and their breath could cause sickness or death. Unfortunately, recent human expansion and a fragmentation of the Gila monster’s natural habitat has caused them to become classified as near threatened on the IUCN red list.
The Gila monster is not considered an endangered species. However, some places consider them vulnerable, and they are protected under law. People cannot kill or own them with out the correct legal permits. In many places in the Southwest, the habitat of the Gila monster is being destroyed.