Colorado Man Fatally Bitten by Pet Gila Monster

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In a tragic incident that unfolded in Lakewood, Colorado, 34-year-old Christopher Ward lost his life after being bitten by his pet Gila monster. The incident occurred on February 12, 2024, and is drawing attention due to the rarity of deaths resulting from Gila monster bites.

Lakewood Police Department spokesman John Romero confirmed that Ward was rushed to the hospital after the bite and was placed on life support. Unfortunately, he succumbed to the consequences of the bite on February 16.

Gila monsters are known for their venomous nature, and bites from these desert lizards can be excruciatingly painful for humans. However, fatalities are extremely rare, making Ward’s case an unusual and tragic exception.

The venomous encounter raises questions about the potency of the Gila monster’s venom and its potential lethality, contrary to the typical effects of Gila monster bites on humans.

The Jefferson County coroner’s office is currently conducting investigations to determine the cause of Ward’s death. At this point, it remains unclear whether the venom from the Gila monster was the direct cause or if other medical conditions contributed to the tragedy.

The need for thorough autopsy results is emphasized to provide a conclusive understanding of the incident.

Ward’s girlfriend, who witnessed the unfortunate event, recounted the moments leading up to and following the bite. According to her statement to the police, she heard something alarming and discovered Winston, one of the Gila monsters, latched onto Ward’s hand.

Colorado Man Fatally Bitten by Pet Gila Monster

Ward’s subsequent symptoms included vomiting and loss of consciousness. This first-hand account adds a personal perspective to the tragic events.

In the aftermath of the incident, Ward’s girlfriend handed over both Gila monsters, named Winston and Potato, to Lakewood animal control officers. The decision to relinquish the lizards and the subsequent actions taken by the authorities reflect the urgency in handling the situation and the potential risks associated with keeping such exotic pets.

The report mentions that Gila monsters are illegal in Lakewood, prompting Ward’s girlfriend to express her desire to remove them from her residence. This highlights the legal implications of owning Gila monsters and the involvement of authorities from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.

The incident underscores the importance of adhering to local regulations regarding the ownership of exotic animals.

Following the surrender of Winston and Potato, the Gila monsters were sent to Reptile Gardens outside Rapid City, South Dakota. This relocation emphasizes the responsible actions taken by the authorities to ensure the proper care and management of these potentially dangerous reptiles.

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Additionally, the authorities found 26 spiders of different species in Ward’s residence, which were subsequently taken to a nearby animal shelter. This discovery adds an intriguing dimension to the incident, showcasing the variety of exotic pets kept by the deceased.

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