Desert-Dwelling Animals in Strange and Stunning Photos

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thorny devil photo
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Deserts are hot, dry, and unforgiving -- which makes them difficult environments for most creatures to survive in. But desert residents who have adapted to the temperatures -- by learning to survive without water, developing their own cooling systems, and hiding in cool spots during the day -- wouldn't have it any other way.

Though many of the creatures who live in deserts are nocturnal, coming out when the sun sets and temperatures drop, we found a few that braved the sun to get caught on camera -- like this Australian Thorny Devil.

Australian Thorny Devil


National Geographic caught this shot in Alice Springs Desert Park and points out that, although the stony-faced creature looks mean, it's not as threatening as you'd think: The lizard measures up at only six inches long, and feeds on ants.

And while the thorns offer some protection from predators, the thorny devil has a few other tricks up its sleeve: In danger, it puffs up, and then hides its head between its front legs, leaving that larger bump in its place to act as a decoy, according to the University of Texas.

Photo via National Geographic