The thorny devil, aka thorny lizard, thorny dragon, or Moloch, is a small species of desert dwelling lizard native to Australia. The closest lizard to them is the horned lizard of America. But they aren’t related.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Moloch horridus
Length: Up to 8 inches
Lifespan: Up to 20 years
Now on to the Facts!
2.) When threatened, the thorny devil can inflate itself to appear larger, more fierce, and harder to eat!
3.) These devils will defecate away from where they eat and bask. Their feces looks black and shiny and will crumble when touched.
4.) The thorny devil’s name was inspired by John Milton’s poem “Paradise Lost.”
5.) Although not as skilled at it as the chameleon, the thorny devil can change colors. Lighter colors to shield from heat and darker colors to attract heat to warm themselves.
But wait, there’s more on the thorny devil!
6.) Their mating season is between August – December.
7.) While traveling, the thorny devil will walk slowly, stop, then rock back and forth. This is thought to help them blend in as if they are a blowing leaf.
Did you know…?
The thorny devil has a false head! It’s a bump or knob on the back of their neck that, when their real head is tucked in, displays a bulbous, sharp knob that helps to thwart predators.
9.) They have special grooves between their thorns that helps to channel water to their mouths.
10.) They have to consume hundreds of ants a day in order to survive! There is not much nutrition in ants.