Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

One of the most striking Australian lizards, the thorny devil is a small dragon covered in densely packed spikes.

The thorny devil walks with an unusual rocking motion that is thought to confuse birds of prey. It also has a knob-like ‘false head’ on its shoulders and can puff itself up to appear bigger when threatened.

It eats only ants, parking itself beside an ant trail and capturing them with its sticky tongue. A single devil can eat thousands of ants in a day.

This lizard has an unusual way of absorbing water. If it stands in a puddle or wet sand, water runs up its legs and spreads over the surface of its body to the mouth via a series of narrow grooves between scales.

Thorny devils are pale yellow and red during warm weather, but become darker when it gets cold or they are alarmed.

Scientific name

Moloch horridus

Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara name