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Did you know: The Frilled Lizard Is The Largest Of Dragon Family Lizards In Australia 🎥

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Let us introduce one of the unique wildlife species “Down Under”...

The frilled lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii) ist also commonly known as the frill-necked lizard and is a species of lizard in the family Agamidae. It is endemic to northern Australia and southern New Guinea.

Its common names come from the large frill around its neck, which usually stays folded against the lizard’s body. It is a relatively large lizard, averaging 85 cm (2.79 ft) in total length (including tail) and is also kept as an exotic pet. (

Frilled-neck lizard - Matt from Melbourne, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Common

This reptile is the largest species of dragon family of lizards in Australia. The frilled-neck lizard is a solitary hunter and an arboreal animal, spending most of the time quietly camouflaged in trees and on branches, leaving only mornings or afternoons for feeding or mating and even sunbathing. Being cold-blooded, this reptile has to maintain its body temperature at a suitable level. The skin is scaled, helping the lizard reduce water loss in a dry environment.

They are very territorial and when threatened, extend the frill to intimidate the rival or enemy, making the lizard look much larger than it actually is. From a National Geographic article on “Frilled Lizard Chlamydosaurus Kingii”, it was stated that if the attacker were not to be threatened by its act, it would turn its tail, mouth and frill open, and begin running with its hind legs without stopping or looking back, till it reaches safety (watch the following You Tube clip).

Like many of their relatives, these lizards are carnivores (insectivores). They primarily feed on insects such as moths and butterflies as well as consume beetles, termites and cicadas. They will also eat spiders, mice and even other lizards.

Sadly, Cane toads are a potential threat to frilled neck lizards. If a lizard eats a toad, it is assumed the toxin will kill the lizard.

Frilled-neck lizard on tree - Flickr (Eric Kilby)

Their mating season - the frilled lizards are polygynous - lasts from September to November, were the males compete with each other for their mating rights. The female lays 1 to 2 clutches of 12 to 18 eggs in a small underground burrow; the incubation time is 50 to 90 days. The sex of future breeds depends on the temperature inside the burrow, where higher temperatures yield males and cooler usually females. The hatchlings are fully independent as the female leaves them after hatching, but the hatchlings remain together for approximately 9 days. The young are able to frill and hunt as soon as they have hatched. They reach their sexual maturity quite early, at 18 to 20 months old.

Due to climate-change the frill-necked lizards may start appearing in new areas in Australia south of their current habitats, as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them.

🎥 Frill-necked Lizard Escapes Python - Nat Geo Wild

Unfortunately the pet trade is one of the major concerns threatening their population as it is an extremely popular pet species with his extraordinary frill and running style.

Another significant threat is loss of habitat due to the continuing deforestation in Australia.

These animals dwell on dry trees, which are currently cut down in large numbers.

These lizards have few natural predators. Large snakes, owls, and dingos are the most common predators. Foxes and birds of prey also pose a threat. Hatchlings and juveniles are most at risk from predation.

According to IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) the frilled-neck lizard is widespread in its habitat areas. No overall population estimate is available, so the population number is presently unknown. However - without any data available - on the IUCN Red List, the species is classified as “Least Concern (LC)



Animalia (viewed 01.12.2022)

Northern Territory Government of Australia, 01.09.2015 (viewed 02.12.2022)


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