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The Thorny Devil Lizard
THE THORNY DEVIL LIZARD by Gistreal(m): Fri 10, June, 2022
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Other Name(s): Thorny dragon, mountain
devil, thorny lizard, moloch.
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The thorny devil is a small, desert-dwelling lizard found only in Australia. Covering the body of this distinctive reptile are several rows of sharp, thorn-like spines . Two larger spines – one on either side of the head – resemble horns, giving the species a ‘dragon- like’ appearance. On the back of the thorny devil’s neck is a ‘ false head ‘. This bulge of soft tissue is used to fool predators.
The thorny devil’s tough, conical spines are arranged in loose lines from its head to its tail. The lizard’s skin ranges in color from light yellow and tan to olive and brown. These dull colors help the animal blend into its environment. Female thorny devils are typically larger and paler than males.

The thorny dragon can change color rapidly. Its skin darkens when the temperature drops or when the animal feels threatened.

The thorny devil lives in dry areas in inland Australia.
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The thorny devil is diurnal (active during the day). Its activity is very limited from June to July and from January to February, the coldest and hottest times of the year respectively. During these times, the lizard spends most of its time sheltered in a burrow.

The thorny devil can regulate its body temperature by adopting a body posture that either increases or decreases contact with the ground.

Drinking in the desert.
The thorny devil has evolved an ingenious means of obtaining water using its skin. Between the animal’s spines is a network of deep grooves. These collect water – either from dew that collects on the lizard’s body or from the environment – and channel it straight into the lizard’s mouth.

The thorny devil has been seen to rub its belly against the ground and flick sand onto its back. This is thought to help with extracting moisture from the sand.

The thorny devil is a specialist ant eater.

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