Thorny Dragon: Hell’s Lizard

The Thorny Dragon, sometimes called the Thorny Devil, is a lizard found purely in the regions of Australia. Named for their sharp thorn-like skin, they can grow up to 21 cm in length with females generally being larger than males. On the back of its neck, it has a pseudo head that is thought to be used to warn off predators and unwanted animals. Due to their habitat in the desert of Australia, these animals are use camouflage to blend in with the sand and their surroundings. They usually sport shades of brown and tan but, can be found with paler or darker shades during cold and warm seasons.

Living in such harsh conditions, one might begin to wonder how an animal survives. The Thorny devil has some of the most unique and clever ways of obtaining water consistently. When night falls in the desert, the temperatures drop a significant amount. This significant drop in temperature and heat from the day will cause dew to form on the thorns and body of the Thorny devil. How does this help hydration though if the water isn’t near its mouth? This lizard has special hygroscopic scales that channel this water towards its mouth! These channels are almost like waterslides that defy gravity. They are very unique to this lizard and are used when it rains and when brushing up against the moisture of grass. In extreme conditions, they can bury themselves deep into the sand and draw a slight amount of moisture.

The Thorny Devil is not dangerous to humans. They can usually be held and are not threatening if not provoked. When males are trying to attract a mate, they can be seen leg-waving and head-bobbing like they are in a concert. When they find a mate, the female will lay their eggs deep in the soil where it is cooler and a more favorable environment. These eggs will hatch and the young will begin to eat other insects immediately.

Published by pensmenger

I am a Biology Major attending Arcadia University. I started the company My Biology Experience in hopes to connect the Biology community on a closer level.

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