Alice Springs Reptile Centre

This bizarre little lizard has a terrible name for such an in-offensive creature. The name quite literally means “horrible devil”. Moloch was a Canaanite God (Devil) to whom children were sacrificed!

Luckily, this little fellow is completely harmless to humans. The Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus) feeds only on tiny ants and may eat over 1,000 at each meal!

It can drink without having it’s head near water, too! The water moves through tiny channels in the skin towards the corners of the mouth, where it is sucked in. The lizard needs only to have one foot in the water.

Thorny Devil usually like to like to poop away from where they eat, bask, or sleep. They will choose a site to defecate, which they will use for several days. You can see the Thorny Devil stool and urine (round white parts).

Did you know that each Thorny Devil can be identified individually by its own unique pattern on it’s underbelly.

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


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  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Suborder: Iguania
  • Family: Agamidae
  • Subfamily: Amphibolurinae
  • Genus: Moloch
  • Species: M. horridus
  • Binomial name: Moloch horridus