Moloch Facts

Moloch Facts
Moloch, also known as thorny lizard or thorny devil, is a species of lizard that can be found only in the western parts of Australia and in the northern and southern parts of Queensland. Moloch inhabits deserts and arid scrublands. This animal has couple of tricks which ensure successful survival in the extreme environment. Moloch is threatened by habitat loss and by pet trade. Despite declining number of molochs in the wild, this lizard is not on the list of endangered animals.
Interesting Moloch Facts:
Moloch can reach 5.9 to 8 inches in length and 2.5 to 3.4 ounces of weight (size of a mouse). Females are larger than males.
Body of moloch is covered with yellow, orange, red, grey, brown and white markings. They match with the colors of the environment and provide camouflage.
Moloch is able to change the colors of the body during the day (depending on the amount of sunlight) and seasonally (body is lighter during the summer and darker during the winter).
Body of moloch is covered with cone-shaped spiny scales. Despite its scary look, moloch is harmless creature.
Moloch has bump on its neck which is also known as false head.
Moloch has thousands of grooves (narrow channels) that are located in between the spikes on dorsal side of the body. Dew is excellent source of water in desert. It collects in the grooves during the night and travels to the moloch's mouth via well developed system of canals.
Diet of moloch consists exclusively of ants.
Moloch can swallow 45 ants per minute using its sticky tongue. One meal usually consists of couple of thousand ants.
Main predators of moloch are snakes, bustards and goannas. Moloch is unpalatable for most predators because of its sharp spines.
When it is faced with danger, moloch hides its head between front legs and exposes its false head. It uses curved tail to anchor itself to the ground and to prevent flipping on the back. Moloch occasionally inflates its body to intimidate its predators.
Moloch likes to bask in the sun during the day. Due to unusual appearance, people often confuse molochs with fallen leaves or twigs when they lay motionless and bask in the sun.
Moloch digs burrows under the shrubs during the hottest part of day to protect itself from the heat.
Moloch is solitary creature except during the mating season which takes place from September to December (from spring to summer in Australia).
Head bobbing and unusual leg motion are part of mating ritual. Female lays 3 to 10 eggs in the 12 inches deep hole in the sand. Incubation period lasts 3 to 4 months - depending on the temperature (higher temperature accelerates development). Moloch reaches sexual maturity at the age of 3 years.
Moloch can survive up to 20 years in the wild.

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