Pet care and more. 2,234 Animals Online Today  
Pet care and information. 
Animal care and advice.
Home Coupons Email eCards Classifieds News Search Forums Help

Common Name:
Thorny Devil
Related Pages:
 More Photos
 Animal Care Sheets
 Articles & Stories
 Books
 Magazines
 Clubs
 Breeders
 Pet Products
 Pet Webcams
 Links Page
 Printer Friendly
 Corrections
 Tell a Friend

Related Searches:
 Site Search
 Search Forums
 Search the Web
 Veterinarians
 Pet Shops
 Pet Adoptions
 Service Providers

More Stuff:
 Go to Forums
 Reptiles eCards
 Subscribe

Pet Categories:
 Mammals
 Birds
 Fish & More
 Reptiles & More
 Insects & More





Pet or animal picture

Submit a Photo

Common Name:  Thorny Devil

Other Common Names:  Moloch

Scientific Name:  Moloch horridus  (Full Taxonomy)

Group:  

Origin or Range:  Australia

Relative Size:  Average  
    (as compared to other lizards)

Average Lifespan:  15 year(s)

Compatibility:  Average   
    (as compared to other lizards)

Category:  Reptiles » Lizards
Animal Description:  

The Thorny Devil is a strange looking, slow-moving lizard found in Australia. They are sometimes known as the Moloch.

Not at all aggressive, the Thorny Devil instead, defends itself by changing color to match its surroundings; hiding in small shrubs; tucking its head under its body and exposing the false head (a knob on its neck); freezing or moving in a shaking manner to resemble a leaf; and puffing itself up to appear larger. The Thorny Devil is primarily diurnal and during cold nights burrows into the ground to remain warm. It does the same thing during hot weather, only to remain cool. The Thorny Devil feeds exclusively on ants. It eats them one at a time using its fast moving tongue and can eat almost 50 ants per minute. One meal can consist of between 600 and 3000 ants. The Thorny Devil usually lives in dry areas such as the interior desert of Australia. Thorny Devils can absorb water through their skin that may collect in shallow puddles after after a rain; but as rain is very rare, they get most of their water by collecting dew on the ridges of their body. Moisture absorbed into the skin ridges is moved by capillary action towards the Thorny Devil's head and mouth, where he can lick the water off. The Thorny Devil is rarely kept in captivity and its numbers are decreasing due to predation by humans and animals. Some Australian states (including Western Australia, which encompasses the majority of the habitat of this lizard) require individuals to hold a license to keep or breed this and similar animals, making ownership of one open only to those who can demonstrate that they can provide suitable care for it. Lastly, Australian law prohibits the export of such endangered wildlife as this without a permit. The Thorny Devil can live between 15 and 20 years if it survives its first 2 years. Giving birth for females is so traumatic that it can also contribute to shortening their longevity.

The Thorny Devil is a moderately sized lizard, averaging between 15 and 20 centimeters (about six inches) in length. They are covered in thorny spikes and grooved skin. They have a knob resembling their head on their back, which they expose when threatened. The Thorny Devil's tongue is very sticky and fast moving, unlike the rest of the lizard, which moves quite slowly. Many people believe the Thorny Devil resembles a miniature rhinoceros.

Found in the Western and Central deserts of Australia, the Thorny Devil is considered an endangered species. Their numbers are decreasing because of destruction of their habitat and predation by feral cats.

Specific Care Information: Relative Care Ease: Difficult

There is currently no special care information in our databases for this animal. To submit care information that is specific to this animal please click here.

Breeding and Propagation: Relative Breeding Ease: Uncertain

The Thorny Devil mates between September and January (spring and summer in Australia). After mating, the female lizard lays a clutch of between 3 and 10 eggs, which hatch after about three or four months. The hatchlings are sexually mature at around three years of age.

Do you have anything to add to the information above? If so, please Click Here.
If anything is missing or incorrect please tell us. We want your advice.
This system is designed so that visitors like you can add to and improve the information.

Select another animal of the same type (Lizards).

  Copyright © The Central Pets Educational Foundation and its licensors.   All rights reserved.
Thursday, 24 July 2014