Skip to content

Thorny Devil » Facts, Feeding and Reproduction

The Thorny devils lizards is one of the rarest animals ever discovered.

This rare reptile, which lives in the large sandy areas of Australia, has its body completely covered with thorns and an absorbent skin that allows it to quench its thirst.

The spiny devil is a unique species that arouses the curiosity of anyone in seconds, because of its unusual appearance.

Characteristics of the Thorny Devil

The thorny lizard, whose scientific name is Moloch horridus, is a rare and unique member of its class, belonging to the Agamidae family.

One of the most impressive characteristics of this rare animal is its ability to consume water through its aspiring skin.

You may ask yourself: how is it possible for this to happen, since, when water comes into contact with its skin or falls on its scales, it condenses and is immediately transported through the capillaries or conduits of its body towards its mouth.

These rare animals can reach lengths of up to 20 cm and weigh around 45 grams.

Their limbs, fingers and eyes are extremely tiny, making them very difficult to observe.

When you look closely you will notice that this lizard is covered by a kind of thick spikes around its body, including areas like the tail.

Its skin is a beautiful and shiny sand color with some brown tones.

Its skin color obeys its habitat and temperature, that is why when the temperature becomes warm it adopts an opaque tone, on the contrary, if it is in an environment with low temperatures its tone will be eclipsed.

The mountain devil has a unique ability to camouflage itself. It can alter the pigmentation of your skin or remain static for long hours to go unnoticed.

They are very intelligent animals, that is why when they are surprised by a predator, they put their head between their small extremities exposing a false head with points around it, with the purpose of intimidating their attacker.

You must know that despite their appearance they do not represent a threat, on the contrary, they are characterized by their peaceful behavior.

These slow-walking animals can live up to 20 years.

Natural habitat of the Thorny Devil

This rare spiny species depends on specific factors to find its ideal habitat.

They prefer those areas where they can easily camouflage with their environment. This is why we will always find them living in desert, semi-arid and sparsely vegetated places.

In this sense, we must take into account a peculiar characteristic of this animal, is that in those days where the temperatures are very high or low this will build burrows and stay inside them.

If you are curious about this animal, you can find it in Australia, where it is native, where it is distributed along the Central and Western parts.

What does this weird animal eat?

The appearance of this animal would make us think that it has carnivorous eating habits, but to our surprise, its diet consists entirely of small ants.

This animal spends most of the day consuming as many ants as it can, as it is a very simple task for it.

It is only necessary for it to open its mouth and use its tongue to capture its prey, and in some occasions these open their way directly to its mouth.

The spiny devil is a very cunning animal. They strategically position themselves near anthills to ingest them without much effort, being able to capture 20 to 30 ants per minute.

It is important to note that the spiny devil requires a daily intake of about 5000 ants per day to maintain good nutrition.

The Thorny Devil reproduction

The reproductive period of these rare animals is between the months of July and August.

During this season the males transform their behavior and become hostile to each other when they feel the presence or smell of some females.

Before reaching the mating stage, the males are forced to call the female’s attention by balancing their heads hard, trying to get her acceptance.

If she is not attracted, they will make several turns on the ground.

Once the male gets his mate, they mate and then separate, taking different paths.

The male looks for other females to mate with and the female looks for a suitable place to trust her eggs.

The mother lays about 3 to 10eggs and covers them with a thin sheet of sand.

After 3 or 4 months of incubation, the eggs will hatch.

The Thorny Devil and his Predators

Despite its appearance and defence mechanisms, the spiny devil has some predators, including snakes, goannas (reptiles) and bustards (birds).