Alice Springs Desert Park

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The distinctive Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus) is found in arid scrub and desert regions of Central Australia. Covered with large thorn-shape spines over its head, body, tail and limbs, the Thorny Devil also has a spinose hump on the back of its neck, that looks similar to two gumnuts joined together. The spines are sharp to the touch.

The colour is mottled arrangement of predominantly mustard yellow and rusty red. Colours can vary depending on the colour of the sand where the Thorny Devil lives. Those on the rust red of Central Australia taken on that colouration, whilst other found living on desert yellow/white sand are lighter in colour.

Just like snakes, thorny devils shed their skin, but unlike snakes, they shed them in sections, usually by rubbing themselves against objects and the ground, and then shaking the pieces off (as can be seen in the following video).


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  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Suborder: Iguania
  • Family: Agamidae
  • Subfamily: Amphibolurinae
  • Genus: Moloch