SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers are considering a bill to designate the Gila monster as the state reptile.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Republican state Rep. Bill Lowry sponsored the legislation after prompting by students at Lava Ridge Intermediate School in Santa Clara, who conducted a science project on the large lizard.
The bill unanimously passed a vote taken in a legislative hearing Monday.
Utah already has a large number of reptiles designated among different state animal categories, including a state dinosaur and fossil.
The Gila has colorful, beadlike scales and a mild venom that can be used to make medicine.
The lizard is named for Arizona's Gila River, but it has a strong connection to the American Indian tribes of Utah.
Arizona's state reptile is the ridge-nosed rattlesnake, according to the state library. Other state symbols include the state firearm (Colt single-action Army revolver), state gem (turquoise) and state fossil (petrified wood).