Thorny Devil Introduction
The Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus) is a small Australian lizard, also known as the mountain devil, thorny lizard, thorny dragon, or Moloch. It is completely endemic to Australia and there is no other lizard like this fascinating reptile anywhere on Earth.
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 color 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 Devils little channels form along its body which enables the devil to collect water from any part of its body which is then transported to its mouth.
The Thorny Devils diet mainly subsists on ants and it can often eat thousands of ants in one day. The females lay a clutch of three to ten eggs between September and December. They put these in a nesting burrow about 30 cm underground.
The eggs hatch after about three to four months. Predators that consume Thorny Devils include wild birds and goannas. 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.
Keywords to learn
Endemic: Native and restricted to a certain place.
Choreography: A sequence of steps and movements.
Hey Kids, my name is Tim the Thorny Devil and I am very happy to meet you. Learn more about me and my species @ www.kids.nationalgeographic.com
Key Thorny Devil Data
- Lifespan:12-20 years.
- Scientific Name:Moloch Horridus.
- Mass:70-95g (2.5-3.4oz)
- Length:15-20cm (5.9-8in)
- Region found:Australia.
- Population Status:Least concern.
- Current population trend:Stable.
- Sexual maturity:Around 3 years.
Well, the Thorny Devil is not called a devil for nothing. This creature is scary looking, but also beautiful looking in its own weird and wonderful way.
Now that you know more about the Thorny Devil by learning the key data above, be sure also to check out the fun facts. When you are finished learning the facts, try answering the questions in the Q&A corner on the bottom right side of the page.
Download questions about the Thorny Devil here: Thorny Devil (answers are on this page)
Thorny Devil Fun Facts for Kids
- # 1. In warm weather, the lizards are usually pale yellow and red, but they can change rapidly to darker colors in cold weather or when alarmed. They undergo this color change daily as the sun rises and they become more active. In the cool morning, thorny lizards are a drab olive-brown and get lighter as the temperature climbs.
- # 2. When being threatened or attacked, it will shoot blood out of its eyes. The predator will look where the bodily fluids hit. When the animal sees blood, it will think that it has somehow been injured. He will run back to his home or refuge, only to find out the injury was fake, and that is if the animal is smart.
- # 3. The Thorny Devil has a unique walking choreography that may look different than what you might expect. They walk in such a way that appears that the upper part of their body rocks back and forth almost like a rocking chair. While there is no confirmed reason that they choose to walk in this manner, one good guess that could potentially be correct is that the thorny devil lizard believes that this movement is less likely to bring attention especially towards potential rivals out in the wilderness.
- # 4. Thorny devil lizards don’t like to poop where they eat, bask, or sleep, and will have a particular site that they will use for several days.
- # 5. Thorny devils are almost completely inactive during the hottest summer months (January and February) and the coldest winter months (June and July) when they take refuge in underground burrows.
- # 1. What country are Thorny Devils endemic to?
- # 2. What class does the Thorny Devil belong to?
- # 3. What is the current population trend of the Thorny Devil?
- # 4. When threatened what do Thorny Devils do to scare off predators?
- # 5. What 4 months of the year are the Thorny Devils completely inactive for?