Ngirntaka kamu Ngiyari (Perentie and Thorny Devil)

Spring is here and the reptiles are plentiful and moving about. Both of these I saw on the road during my travels last week. As usual click on the pics for a bigger version.

This Perentie (or Ngirntaka in Ngaanyatjarra language) is not so big. It was about one and a half metres long. They can grow longer than 2 metres. This one has to bulk up a little. He was sunbaking in the middle of the road when I happened across “him”. Well I didn’t know what sex it was and I wasn’t going to check.

sunbaking perentie

He got sick of me and wandered off the road increasing his speed to a run as I followed. These things bite and have claws the size of… well they are big. As well as a mouth full of nasty bacteria and very sharp teeth the Varanus giganteus is also thought to be “mildly” venomous.


On the same trip I came across a few Ngiyari or Thorny Devils. They have a great scientific name: Moloch horridus. The Moloch can live up to twenty years living off a diet of small ants. Those ridges and “thorns” come in handy. As well as scaring off would be predators the lizard can channel water gathered on any part of its body (usually condensation from overnight dew) to its mouth. There’s a lot more about this lizard from it’s rocking walk to it’s false head.

Thorny Devil

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