The Thorny Devil - The little spiny lizard
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The Thorny Devil - The little spiny lizard

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     The Thorny Devil may be the most interesting lizard living on this planet! Also known by the names of Thorny Dragon, Moloch or Thorny Lizard, this amazing lizard is absolutely unique in the world.
The Thorny Devil is small, growing only around 20 centimeters in length. It has the weight of an average mouse, but this is not why it is so popular around the world. The Thorny Devil is famous for its unique spiky look. However, this curious appearance does not stop it to blend in with the landscape; the color of its body helps the lizard hide from potential predators or even humans.
Another interesting function of the Thorny Devil is its ability to collect water, thanks to the rigid structure of its body. How? Well, between the spikes on its body there are little channels which aid in collecting water and transport it right to the mouth of the reptile. Pretty amazing!
The Thorny Devil has the “power” to change colors, from paler to darker. They use this when they need to cool down or when they cross different types of soil. They can become yellow, reddish, brown or even black!
Another way Thorny Lizards use to escape predators is by using their “pretend head” on the back of the neck; when they use it, they dip their head down, giving them an advantage on other animals around. This misleads predators easily, helping them escape danger.
The Thorny Lizard is a small creature, it moves slowly, and these features make it a prey animal. The main predators are humans and the Bustard. The Thorny Lizard is an endangered animal!


Thorny Devil on rocks


The Thorny Devil can be found in Australia, usually in the arid regions (Western, Northern, and Western- South Australia). It lives in scrub, sand or spinifex grasslands. 


The Thorny Devil is specialized in the consumption of ants. This is mainly the only thing they eat.


Thorny Devil Walking

Interesting Facts


  • The Thorny Devil eats between 600 and 3000 ants at one meal! They can only eat one ant at a time, but they are fast eaters, eating about 45 ants in one single minute!
  • At night, Thorny Devils will cover themselves in soil to stay warm during the cold nights.
  • When the temperature is too high, the Thorny Lizard will hide under burrows or scrub to protect itself from the heat.
  • The Thorny Devil has a “puff system” to make it appear bigger. This is one of their smart defense mechanism.



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Photos: - Picture 1 - Picture 2 – Picture 3 - Picture 4 – Picture 5 – Picture 6

Published by Silvia Totu


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