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The Thorny Dragon (Moloch horridus)

This little guy is a popular lizard in Australia, deserving of a lot of attention. Its scientific name comes from Moloch, the God mentioned in the Bible that does child sacrifice, and horridus, which means... horrid. With its spiked body and odd coloration, it is important to learn more about it.

Physical Characteristics and Behavior

They are covered in large spines similar to that of a Rose, which seeks to help to protect them against predators. They are also brown and sandy-colored, which keeps them more camouflaged when in the desert. An awesome thing to note is that this lizard has ridged scales, which allows it to collect water through its skin. So it can drink water without even moving. Most of the water collected is through morning dew.

These lizards can be upwards of 8 inches long, including their tail. Among lizards, they live for a fairly long time, as much as 20 years. This little lizard will outlive many of your cats and dogs, to put that in perspective.

Their diet consists almost exclusively of ants, which are abundant in the deserts, and can eat over a thousand ants in a single day. The females are larger than the males and can lay 3-10 eggs at a time, which hatch a few months later.

Habitat and Location

These lizards live in the sandplain and sandridge deserts of Central Australia. They tend to be far enough away from the wildfires that are happening right now, but that does not mean that they will be unaffected. As of right now, the IUCN Red List considers this lizard to be of Least Concern with a fairly stable population.

Check out this video by National Geographic to see more of this little guy in action

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