Animals / Reptiles / Types of Lizards / Thorny Devil Lizard

Thorny Devil Lizard

Australian Thorny Devil

Australian Horned Lizard or Thorny Devil

The Thorny Devil is covered in spiny, warty protuberances. Narrow channels between the scales act to draw precious droplets of dew or rain to its mouth by capillary action. The horns are mostly hollow modified scales.



spiky underside

Showing spiky underside while striking Godzilla pose

They have quite a few names - "Devil Lizard", "Thorny Devil", "Horned Lizard", "Thorny Toad", "Thorny Dragon" and other variations. There are quite a few species of horned lizards. The Australian Thorny Devil is only a distant cousin of the horned lizard of the Americas. Apparently they separately evolved similar traits, they do look quite similar and both sit around eating ants. In fact that is about all they are interested in eating is black ants. An individual might eat up to five thousand black ants on a single hunting spree. This they do by simply lapping the ants up with their sticky tongue. This also means that they are susceptible to environmental factors because if they can't find ants to eat then they are pretty much out of luck and have to look for new territory or die off. They will eat other small insects when they have to.


horned lizard

Horned Lizard

One big advantage of having so many horns is that to their predators, it makes them a very difficult meal to swallow. This is useful as some of their predators, like foxes, coyotes, bobcats or even faster snakes are too fast to outrun.


baby horned lizard

Baby Horned Lizard

The most famous and outstanding feature of the Texas Horned Lizards is of course even more fantastic than its thorns - it can squirt blood from its eyes. Some can hit enemies up to 10 feet or 3m away. The horns on the head are solidly-filled while the scales on its back are less solid. There are 17 different native species in the Americas.



Animal pages