Thorny Devil Facts

The Thorny devil (Moloch horridus) is the only species of the genus Moloch. It is a small lizard that exists in Australia and whose diet consists only of ants. It inhabits mainly scrub land and desert in Central and Western Australia.

Despite its name, the thorny devil does not exceed 20 cm in length. Females are somewhat larger than males. The color, which they can control, such as the chameleon, ranging from yellow to dark brown, depending on the type of soil, and serving as camouflage.

It has a "false head" behind the real, which it uses to confuse predators. It has conical spines all over the body except the belly where they are replaced by lumps.

Thorny Devil
Thorny Devil

The thorny devil has ants as their only food, especially of the genus Iridomyrmex. They only eat one ant at a time, which it captures with its sticky tongue, but can eat them at a rate of 45 per minute. They can eat between 600 to 3000 in a single meal and more than 10,000 per day.

To drink the thorny devil is able to condense the humidity of desert's cold nights on the scales and channel it to the mouth through existing grooves among the thorns. The same happens on rainy days or if he finds a puddle.

Although his body covered with conical spines, their extreme slowness makes it an easy prey. Their predators are the great bustard, which makes fast descents on it, trying to stun and kill it, and goanna (a monitor lizard).
However, the thorny devil has some defense techniques like sticking his head between its front legs and show the "false head" for predators to take for real. If the predators try to roll to expose its belly, the area of his body most unprotected, the devil strikes back by putting pressure on the spines and the tail. To scare off predators can they also "swell" to give the impression of being larger.

The thorny devil reaches maturity at 3 years and is believed to live 20 years in the wild. The mating and egg laying occurs between September and January. The female lays between 10 to 30 eggs that hatch 3-4 months later.

Thorny Devil video

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Comments on the thorny devil 1 comment

brandon 4 years ago

what do the eggs look like

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