T is for Thorny Devil Lizard Facts : A-Z Collection of Really Cool Animals

T is for Thorny Devil Lizard Facts : A-Z of Really Cool Animals

Thorny Devil Lizard Facts

A-Z Collection of Really Cool Animals

A-Z Collection of Cool Animals April 2015 Challenge

T is for Thorny Devil Lizard

The thorny devil lizard is also known as the thorny dragon or the mountain devil . It’s scientific name is (Moloch horridus), with horridus loosely translated as rough or bristly, or dreadful. The thorny devil lizard is native to Australia, living in the arid scrublands and desert of the interior of the continent. Other names given to this lizard are “Devil Lizard”, “Thorny Devil”, “Horned Lizard”, and the “Thorny Toad”.

Thorny Devil Lizard Facts:

  • The Thorny devil lizard is covered in conical, uncalcified spikes, which cover the entire upper side of the body. These spikes are used to defend itself against predators. It has two large horned scales on its head to complete the illusion of a dragon or a devil.
  • The thorny dragon features a spiny knob-like, soft tissue appendage, sometimes called a “false head” on the back of its neck, which it presents to potential predators by dipping its real head down between its forelegs, leaving the false head where its real head used to be.
  • Thorny devils have another defense mechanism in which they inflate their chests with air to make themselves flatten out like a pancake, making themselves look bigger and harder to swallow.

T is for Thorny Devil Lizard Facts : A-Z of Really Cool Animals

Thorny Devil Lizard Facts:

The thorny devil has an unusual gait, which involves walking slowly, frequent stopping in place (freezing), and rocking back and forth before moving on (similar to a chameleon) as it moves about slowly in search of food, water, and mates. The movements appear shaky.

This lizard grows up to 8 inches (20 cm) in length. The females are larger than the males.

It collect moisture in the dry desert by the condensation of dew on its body at night, during rare rainfalls, or by brushing up against dew-coated grass and over-hanging plants. The collected moisture gets channeled to its mouth via grooves between their spikes through capillary action, allowing the thorny dragon to suck water from all over its body.

T is for Thorny Devil Lizard Facts : A-Z Collection of Really Cool Animals

Thorny Devil Lizard Facts:

  • Thorny devil lizards eat only ants. They can eat thousands of small, black ants in a single day. They will find a feeding site and then sit and wait for their prey to pass in front of them, capturing the ants with their sticky tongues.
  • 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.
  • They can change color, going to a lighter pale yellow and red in warm weather, and to darker colors in cold weather. They will go through this process throughout the day, changing with the sun, the temperature, and activity levels.
  • 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.

T is for Thorny Devil Lizard Facts : A-Z Collection of Really Cool Animals

Thorny Devil Lizard Facts:

  • Thorny devils are active in the autumn (March, April, and May) as well as the later winter through early summer (August – December), during which they mate and lay eggs.
  • The females lay a clutch of three to ten eggs which are put in a nesting burrow about 12 inches (30 cm) underground. The eggs hatch after about three to four months.
  • Predators of the thorny devil lizard includes wild birds and goannas.
  • Thorny devils can live to between six and 20 years.

T is for Thorny Devil Lizard Facts : A-Z Collection of Really Cool Animals

SOURCES for T is for Thorny Devil Lizard Facts:  National Geographic  ♦  Wired.com

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Jeanne Melanson

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Born in Nova Scotia, I moved to the United States 20+ years ago.I am a dedicated lover of animals and fight for their rights and protection.I love people too, of course, and enjoy meeting folks from all walks of life.I enjoy philosophical discussion, laughing, and really odd ball stuff.I hope you enjoy my site.Leave me a comment to let me know you were here!Peace out.
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8 thoughts on “T is for Thorny Devil Lizard Facts : A-Z of Really Cool Animals

    • That cool, Donna, that you used to collect them as a kid. I never had that opportunity, but I would have too, if I could have. For me it was little grass snakes. Thanks for visiting, and for your comment too! Always much appreciated. 🙂

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