Animals >>

Thorny Devil

Thorny Devil Facts

Scientific NameMoloch Horridus
Size15-20cm (5.9-8in)
Weight70-95g (2.5-3.4oz)
Top Speed60km/h (37mph)
Lifespan12-20 years
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
ColourRed, Grey, Brown
Skin TypeScales
Favourite FoodAnts
HabitatDry desert and shrub land
Average Litter Size6
Main PreyAnts, Termites
PredatorsSnakes, Human, Birds
Special FeaturesSpiky skin and water channels throughout body

Thorny Devil Location

Map of Thorny Devil Locations
Map of Oceania

Thorny Devil

The thorny devil, also known as Thorny Dragon, Thorny Lizard, or the Moloch, is a small species of lizard native to Australia with there being no other lizard like the thorny devil anywhere in the world.

The thorny devil is a small lizard with the average adult thorny devil only growing to around 20cm in length and weighing about the same as the average mouse. The thorny devil is best known for having an extremely spiky looking appearance and the thorny devil can blend well into the vast Australian desert due to the colour of the thorny devil's skin.

The body of the thorny devil has a very rigid structure which aids the thorny devil in collecting water. Amazingly, in between the cone-shaped spikes of the thorny devil, little channels form along the thorny devil's body which enables the thorny devil to collect water from any part of its body which is then transported to the mouth of the thorny devil.

As with many species of lizard, the female thorny devil is generally slightly bigger than the male thorny devil and tend to be slightly paler in colour, with the male thorny devil having a slightly redder looking appearance. All thorny devil individuals tend to change from a paler to a darker colour when they cool down.

The thorny devil also has a pretend head at the back of its neck which is used to mislead oncoming predators. The thorny devil dips its real head down and is therefore able to have a slight advantage over other animals.

The thorny devil feeds mainly on ants and collects the much need moisture at night time generally from forming dew drops. The thorny devil can eat some thousands of ants every day, which is remarkable for such a small creature.