Wild Fact #858 – A Thorn in My Side – Thorny Devil

Wild Fact #858 – A Thorn in My Side – Thorny Devil

Before we get into today’s Wild Fact, I have a little bit of housekeeping to take care of.  First of all I wanted to thank Larissa over at Reef Botanicals for presenting Wild Facts with the Sunshine Award.  Your support is greatly appreciated, Larissa.  Secondly, I wanted to let all of you know that Wild Facts was featured on Daily Planet which aired last night on the Discovery Channel.  I will post details and link to the show once it is posted online.  Thank you to Margo Losier for recommending Wild Facts to the producers at Daily Planet. I have to admit, I feel very honoured to have Wild Facts featured on such an amazing television program about Science and Technology.  All right, let’s get onto Wild Fact #858!

Today we are going to talk about a little Australian lizard called the Thorny Devil. They may look like the deadliest animal in the world, however, these lizards are only about 15-20 cm (5.9-8″) long. Although they may not be deadly to us, I would hate to be an ant in Australia with these guys kicking around.  The thorny devil is capable of consuming about 3000 ants in one sitting! Imagine the fear that would strike the little ants when they see the deadly, thorny lizard approaching. My guess is you would hear faint cries of “Godzilla!  Godzilla!”.

Besides the incredibly cool appearance of the thorny devil they also have two adaptations that are absolutely mind boggling.  The first has to do with their method of consuming water.  Most people just go to the tap and pour themselves a glass.  Actually, who am I kidding, these days most people just grab a bottle of water out of the fridge.  Well, the thorny devil simply walks through dew-filled grass and shrubs.  You see, this particular lizard is able to drink water no matter where it hits them on their body.  They have these tiny little grooves all over their body that direct the water to their mouth.  Once the water lands on them they will begin gulping which causes the water to move towards their mouth using a capillary action.  Imagine how much water they would be able to drink when they are swimming or in the shower.

The second adaptation is one of our usual defense mechanisms.  When a predator actually wants to try and consume this spikey little lizard they will have a tough time finding its head.  You see the thorny devil hides its real head and exposes a fake, spike-filled head which is located on their back.  As you can imagine the predator will be very surprised if it tries to attack the ball of spikes.  This isn’t one of those  good surprises either.

If you just can’t get enough of the Thorny Devils then I suggest checking out the video below.  It is just a short clip from National Geographic that discusses both adaptations I mentioned in today’s post.

Well, I guess that is all I have to say about the Thorny Devil.  Be sure to check back tomorrow for another interesting Wild Fact or if you would like to receive Wild Facts in your e-mail then just sign up at the top right corner.


  1. Avatar
    Janiss March 10, 2010

    What a great lizard! I think he’s a cute devil. :-) And yet another creature I’d love to have living by my home, to make short work of the endless streams of ants who find their way inside every time it either rains or gets too hot.

    • Avatar
      Nathan March 10, 2010

      hahaha! Your house is going to be full of exotic animals by the time we are done. At least you won’t have any ants though!

      Maybe you should teach Sparkle to eat ants??

      • Avatar
        Janiss March 11, 2010

        @Nathan, Sadly, Sparkle thinks ants are nasty and I can’t convince her otherwise. BTW, congratulations on the Daily Planet mention – that was great!

        • Avatar
          Nathan March 11, 2010

          Sparkle is a pretty smart cat! She knows better than to eat weird insects!

          I was pretty impressed with the Daily Planet mention. Thanks for watching and reading Wild Facts!

  2. Avatar
    Candy & Garry March 10, 2010

    Nathan congratulations for your blog being on the Daily Planet Show. I seen it last night and it was short but good.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Avatar
      Nathan March 10, 2010

      Thanks for the encouragement. It may have been short but it is pretty cool seeing Wild Facts on National Television!

  3. Avatar
    Bev Lawrence March 10, 2010

    I stayed up to watch Dailey Planet last night too. Awesome! I liked today’s animal fact and video – cute little guy.

    • Avatar
      Nathan March 10, 2010

      Thanks for staying up late, Aunt Bev! Of course it had to be the very last segment of the show too!

  4. Avatar
    Anonymous August 28, 2010

    this has been great for my homework

    • Avatar
      Nathan August 29, 2010

      I am really glad Wild Facts was able to help out. Education is definitely one of the main objectives of this site.

      Please don’t hesitate to e-mail or add a comment if you have any questions or would like to see some information on a particular animal.

  5. Avatar
    john August 28, 2010

    great website

    • Avatar
      Nathan August 29, 2010

      Thanks John!

      Your support is greatly appreciated.

  6. Avatar
    Amaria September 12, 2011

    Thanks for the facts they were great!!!:)

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    kaitlyn February 22, 2012

    well thats a animal my mom would say no to…any mom maybe….funny i love this animal….yaaaaaaa

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    ericka March 01, 2012

    My mom said it looks like a dinosor lol……………..i think it looks cute

    • Avatar
      Nathan March 01, 2012

      I agree with your mom, Ericka. I think the Thorny Devil definitely has a dinosaur appearance to it…. a little smaller than the typical dinosaur but still looks like it should have been in Jurassic Park.

      Thanks for visiting Wild Facts!

  9. Avatar
    Bre May 31, 2012

    Very interesting, I now LOVE the thorny devil.

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    andrew May 27, 2013

    Wow…. It looks cute. Can anyone tell me where I can buy one? I want it to eat my nasty ants!!!

  11. Avatar
    roni March 17, 2014

    great for my work

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