The Alice Springs Desert Park, in the Northern Territory, Australia, has successfully produced fourteen new resident Thorny Devil Lizards.
The recent hatching of the fourteen healthy Thorny Devils (Moloch horridus), also known as Thorny Dragon, adds to the Desert Park’s diverse range of wildlife currently available for viewing.
Specialist Keeper, Invertebrates and Reptiles, Pete Nunn said that the Desert Park is thrilled to have such an extensive collection of Thorny Devils in captivity. “Thorny Devils are not normally kept, let alone bred at most zoos and wildlife parks around Australia,” he said. “The Thorny Devil usually lives in the arid scrub land and desert that covers most of Central Australia. For example, it inhabits the Tanami and Simpson Desert in the deep interior.”
Over time the Thorny Devils have evolved and adapted to the environment they live in.
“Thorny Devils live on a diet of nothing but small black ants. They feed in the cooler mornings and late afternoon,” Mr. Nunn continued. “When they locate a trail of ants they lick them up with their short, sticky tongue. Thorny Devils might eat a thousand or more ants in a single meal.”
When it comes to hydration, Thorny Devils collect moisture in the dry desert by the condensation of dew on their bodies at night.
“This dew forms on its skin, and then it is channeled to its mouth in microscopic grooves between its spines,” said Mr. Nunn.
The hatchlings took 98 days to incubate and weighed in at a tiny two grams.
From the fourteen total Thorny Devils that hatched, four are on display at the Alice Springs Desert Park’s nocturnal house, sand country exhibit.
For further details and park information visit: www.alicespringsdesertpark.com.au