The Thorny Devil is well adapted to the arid regions of Australia with tiny
channels between the scales on the belly and legs. Morning dew, damp sand and
puddles of water are then channelled up and along the body of the Thorny Devil
by capillary action to the mouth of the lizard. As they soak up water, their
body colour become brighter and more vivid.
The Thorny Devil feeds exclusively on certain species of small black ants, eating anywhere
between 1,000 to 5,000
ants per meal.
When you look at the underside of the Thorny Devils, each individual will have their own
unique pattern, with no two Thorny Devil having the same pattern, providing a
unique figure print that allows you to tell them apart.
The Thorny Devil can live for about twenty years, with breeding staring at
three years of age. It attracts a mate through elaborate courtship rituals that
include head-bobbing and leg-waving. The female then lays a clutch of 3-10 eggs
in a chamber up to 30 cm below the surface of the ground. It can take anywhere
between 13 to 18 weeks for incubation depending on the weather (the warmer
weather speeds up the process). Once hatched, the young lizard starts to eat
ants almost immediately.
The spectacular creature is a favourite of many young children and adults,
with its strange jerky gait and tail held in an upward curve.