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The Thorny Devil

The Thorny Devil lizard is also known as the Mountain Devil or Thorny Dragon (moloch horridus) because of the horny skin structure over the top of the lizards back. 

It inhabits the scrub and desert of Central Australia and eats small insects. 

It is about 20 cm long and can weigh up to 90 gms.

It starts breeding at about 3 years and lays around 3 to 10 eggs in a shallow chamber about 30 cm under ground which hatch in 3 to 4 months. 

It can live up to 20 years.

It is a slow moving lizard and feeds on ants and can eat thousands of ants in a day. 

The Thorny Devil has a very rough skin and a horny protrusions on its head and body. 

Its feet do not seem to be bothered by the heat reflecting off the sand and stone of the desert as it traverses the countryside looking for its food.

It is able to collect water between the rough protrusions on its back and sides and channel it to its mouth.

During the heat of the day it will hide under shrubs and and night if will dig a shallow burrow into the soil to keep warmer.

The Thorny Devils scales are not only a defence against predators but they can also change colour due to the seasonal conditions and the area in which it lives creating a natural camouflage which helps protect the lizard.

It will change colour depending on the colour of the soil it is crossing and the air temperature turning pale colours when warm and darker when cold.

It is this ability that allows it to fully blend into the area that it chooses to live in and makes it nearly invisible.

Louise Numinas' paintings of the Thorny (Mountain) Devil dreaming depict the lizards ability to camouflage itself and blend into its surroundings making it a very difficult job for predators.