The Thorny Devil

The Thorny Devil lizard is also known as the Mountain Devil or Thorny Dragon (moloch horridus) because of the horny skin structure over the top of the lizard.

It inhabits the scrub and desert of Central Australia and eats small insects.

It is about 20cm long can weigh up to 90gms.

It starts breeding at about 3 years and lays around 3 to 10 eggs in a shallow chamber about 30cm under ground which hatch in 3 to 4 months.

It can live up to 20years.

It is a slow moving lizard and feeds on ants and can eat thousands of ants in a day.

The Mountain Devil has a very rough skin and a horny protrusion like horns on its head and body.

Its feet do not seem to be bothered by the heat reflecting off the sand and stone in the desert as it traverses the country side looking for its food.

It is able to collect water between the rough protrusions of its back and sides and can then channel it to its mouth.

During the heat of the day it will hide under shrubs and at night will dig a shallow burrow into the soil to keep warmer.

The thorny devils scales are not only a defence against predators but they can also change colour due to the seasonal conditions and the area in which it lives creating a natural camouflage which helps to protect the lizard.

It will change colour depending on the colour of soil it is crossing and the air temperature, turning pale colours when warm and darker when cold.

It is this ability that allows it to fully blend into the area that it chooses to live in and makes it nearly invisible.

Louise Numina's paintings of the Mountain Devil lizard dreaming above depict the lizards ability to camouflage itself and blend into its surroundings making a very difficult job for preditors.