Thorny Devil Facts

The thorny devil is an Australian lizard that lives in the desert regions of central Australia and can grow up to 21 cm (8.3 in) long. It is covered entirely with conical spines and lays ten eggs.

The thorny devil’s mouth is so specialized that it can only be used to eat ants. It can lick water and collect water from the sand using channels in its body.

It has many nicknames reflecting its appearance, including the devil lizard, horned lizard, and thorny toad.

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Thorny Devil Facts for Kids

  • The thorny devil grows up to 21 cm (8.3 in) long.
  • They can live up to 20 years
  • It is covered with conical spines
  • The thorny devil’s spikes help it to hide and evade predators
  • They love to eat  ants

What do Thorny Devils Look Like

The thorny devil is a small lizard native to Australia that is covered in thorny spikes. It is slow-moving and uses its fake head to fool predators.

The thorny devil grows up to 21 cm (8.3 in) long and can live up to 20 years. It is covered with conical spines.

Spikes help it to hide and evade predators, and its unusual gait may help it evade predation.

The thorny devil has spiny scales that enable it to collect water by simply touching it with any part of the body.

They are unique because it is covered in large spines, and it changes color to match their environment or the time of day.

Where do Thorny Devils Live

Australia’s Great Sandy Desert interior provides the native habitat for the lizard. They live in sandy deserts and scrub with sandy soil and don’t like areas with rocky or hard soil.


The thorny devil is covered in hard, sharp spines and has a false head that is presented when it feels threatened.


The thorny devil subsists on ants, especially Ochetellus flavipes, and absorbs moisture from the desert by capturing dew and absorbing water from sand.

The lizard eats ants. It waits for ants to cross its path in temperatures over 75 degrees Fahrenheit and eats up to 750 ants per day.

Thorny Devils are carnivores, specifically obligate myrmecophages insectivores, and belong to the class Reptilia. They are the only species of their kind that eat ants.

Thorny Devil Behavior

Thorny devils are active between March and May, August through December, and between January and February when temperatures are the highest and the coldest. They are mostly solitary and live in a small area.

Thorny Devil Predators

Humans, black-breasted bustards, goanna lizards, and Australian bustards are the main predators of these animals. Their main threat is the loss of their ant food source, which is possible when humans kill ants as pests.