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A thorny problem solved

Thorny devil
Thorny devil Parks and Wildlife

A child’s ‘show and tell’ for school became a thorny problem for the Department of Parks and Wildlife’s Midwest staff last week.

District wildlife officer Garth Grimsley said a thorny devil lizard, also known as a mountain devil, had been taken from the wild near Kalbarri and kept in captivity, before it laid seven eggs.

“The family had intended taking the devil to school for a ‘show and tell’ but when it laid eggs, it was brought in to our office,” Mr Grimsley said.

“We are attempting to incubate and hatch the eggs, but this is unlikely to be successful.

“In the wild the female will lay the eggs in a chamber up to 30cm below the earth surface.

“The incubation period for the eggs is 90 to 132 days so we will know whether there are any baby devils in about three to four months.”

Mr Grimsley reminded community members that taking native animals from the wild and keeping them in captivity is an offence under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

“It also places unnecessary stress on the animal, and in this instance, the thorny devil was carrying eggs, placing the eggs at serious risk,” he said.

“The department encourages people to admire Western Australia’s native wildlife, but to leave them in peace.”

Mr Grimsley said the thorny devil, which feeds solely on ants, would be released back into the wild in its natural habitat.

People wishing to keep a reptile as a pet require a licence from Parks and Wildlife.

For more information, contact the Parks and Wildlife Geraldton office on 9964 0901 or visit

Media contact: Parks and Wildlife Media 9219 9999