Thorny Devil Lizard Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

The thorny devil lizard is a small creature that lives in the sandy desert areas of Australia. In this lesson, learn about the physical characteristics that help this animal survive in the desert, what it eats, and some other cool facts.

Thorny Desert Lizards

When you hear the name 'thorny devil lizard', what image comes to mind? These strange creatures probably look exactly like the image in your mind! Thorny devil lizards are about five inches long and found in sandy, desert-like areas of Australia; they're likely some of the most unusual animals you'll learn about. Let's find out more about these unique lizards.

Thorny devil lizards are found in desert areas on the continent of Australia.

Use of Spines

How do you drink water? You probably drink it from a glass, water fountain, or water bottle. Thorny devil lizards use their whole bodies to get cool water in the hot weather. Their bodies are covered with points called spines, and they use these spines to brush up against plants that might have moisture on them in the morning. The water falls off the plants and runs down the lizards' spines and into grooves in their bodies. It shoots through the grooves and lands right in the lizards' mouths!

Desert Magicians

If you move around quickly, can you change color? Definitely not, but thorny devil lizards can! The pigment, or coloring, in their skin changes, depending on how active they are and how hot or cold their body temperatures are. When racing away from predators, like brown falcons for example, their skin will look yellow with bright spots of red or brown. When resting at night, while body temperatures are cooler, their skins will look greenish with darker green spots.

Thorny devil lizards can change colors based on their body temperature and activity levels.
thorny devil

Simple Diet

How would you feel if you were only able to eat ants at every meal? Probably pretty grossed out! But to thorny devil lizards, that would sound incredibly tasty. These lizards only eat black ants, and they like to feast on them in the morning and afternoon hours. They have very sticky tongues, which help them catch a lot of ants at one time. In fact, for a single meal, a thorny devil lizard might eat over 1,000 black ants.

Thorny devil lizards eat only black ants, sometimes eating more than 1,000 of them in a single meal.

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