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Thorny Devil rescue & release

Published 01 Jun 2022 by Helene Aubault (Reserve Manager)

Someone surrendered a Thorny Devil 10 days ago to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service office in Mackay. They contacted us here at Ethabuka Reserve, Wangkamadla Country, to see if we could find a new home and release it on the reserve.

After some treatment, and a health check, I went to grab it in Winton and we released it on reserve the next day.

The poor little fella did not eat for more than a week, as they'd been unsuccessful in trying to feed it, but it had a feast on the ants we found him around the homestead when we got back.

Thorny Devils are perfectly adapted to arid environments. They're covered in thorny spines to warn off predators, but between these scales are hygroscopic (moisture-attracting) grooves that allow them to essentially suck water via capillary action from all over its body!

Later in the day we let him go further in the sand dunes close to an ant nest (one of the genera he ate - they only eat to type) in the afternoon once it warmed up and he ate quite a bit. Once they locate an ant trail, Thorny Devils can slurp up thousands of ants with their sticky tongues.

With a lifespan of up to 20 years, fingers crossed this Thorny Devil will make a new home for itself at Ethabuka for many years to come! 

Learn more about these amazing lizards on our Thorny Devils page.

Helene's daughter Gwenaelle with the Thorny Devil. Helene's daughter Gwenaelle with the Thorny Devil.
Freshly released Thorny Devil. Freshly released Thorny Devil.
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