The Thorny Satan of Australia | Out There With Jack Randall

published on July 3, 2020

[nature sounds]

[music playing]

Look at this desert

You've heard of
the Sahara Desert

This is the Red
Center of Australia

This is the equivalent to
the Sahara in Australia

It is really, really
vast and sparse

This sand, red sand, is why
it's called the Red Center

The deadly heat
and lack of water

make the Red Center one of
the most difficult places

to survive on earth

Look at this landscape

I'm on the top of
this sand dune ridge

If you just look all around me

It's pretty much exact–

Oh my!


Look at that!

Oh, that is unbelievable

This is one of the most amazing
finds you could possibly

get in the Red Center desert

Look at the thorns on
this little lizard

That's how it got its
name, the thorny devil

It's just totally still

They actually do
that because they're

conserving their energy

It's a native reptile out here

Totally, totally harmless

It's absolutely
not a devil at all

What it eats is
ants, solely ants

And it can eat up
to 3,000 ants a day

Look at this thing

Those thorns, they use that as
a defense against any predators

The amazing thing is, well,
it's got this little hump

on his back here

That's a false head

It's a decoy head

So if a predator, like a
hawk, would come along,

it would stick his
head in the sand

and just show that fake head

The hawk attacks the fake head
and the thorny devil survives

The main thing, how
does this lizard

survive out here in
this environment

It's so dry and it's so hot

How does it drink?

Every animal around
here needs water

Well, this has got probably
the most amazing adaptation for

a desert animal in the world

If you look really, really
closely, it's got these grooves

that follow all along its skin

And what happens is that
this guy literally sucks

the water out from the sand

The sand is dry, but there's
still moisture in here

The moisture moves up
through the grooves

and slowly cycles
up to its mouth

And it'll be drinking
without you even knowing it

So what happens if I just
put him on the ground?

He would cover himself
in sand like this

and suck the water
from the ground upwards

and from the sand on its skin

That is one amazing animal

Perfectly adapted
for living here

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