Frilled lizards inhabit the woodlands and forests of southern New Guinea and northern Australia. Their diet mainly consists of insects, although they also feed on small mammals occasionally. Their lifespan in the wild is unknown, but they live to be up to 20 years old in captivity.
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Reptilia
Order - Squamata
Suborder - Iguania
Family - Agamidae
Genus - Chlamydosaurus
Species - C. kingii
Common Names - Frilled Lizard, Frillneck, Frilled-necked Lizard, Frilled Dragon, Frilled Agama
The most distinguishing feature of frilled lizards is their colorful frill, which they can open when they feel threatened. The frill is a fold of skin that can stretch to nearly 12 inches across when it is unfolded. Frilled lizards have bodies that are typically gray or brown in color and a bright yellow or pink mouth lining and tongue. Adults grow to be an average of 3 feet long and weigh roughly 1.1 pounds.
Frilled lizards usually breed during the rainy season, which starts in October and lasts through March. Females lay an average of eight eggs at a time, although these clutches can have as many as 13 eggs. They lay the eggs in sandy soil and do not cover them with leaves or any other vegetation, which lets the eggs get the sunlight they need. Young frilled lizards are able to hunt and use their frill from the moment they are born.
Frilled lizards are active during the day, although they only spend a little of this time hunting for food on the ground. They spend the rest of it in the branches of trees or on tree trunks. When faced with a threat, frilled lizards open their mouth and frill to appear larger and more dangerous to predators. They hiss and charge at the predator or flee to the nearest tree.
Frilled lizards have remained abundant in their natural range over the years, although they have faced slow declines. The introduction of the invasive cane toad species in Australia during the 1930s may have played a role in their population decrease.
Frilled lizards are listed as Least Concern due to their large distribution throughout their native range. They face local threats that have contributed to small population declines, such as predation by cats and dry season fires. They are also in demand in the pet trade, although they do not usually fare well in captivity.