Frilled Dragon

By Snaketracks / January 13, 2020
Frilled Dragon
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The Frilled Dragon is as interesting as it looks. With a frilled neck that adds to its commanding presence, you’d surely find it unforgettable. Indeed, this highly attractive and exotic reptile is a pet lizard you’d be interesting in owning and caring for. Read on to find more about this incredible lizard species.

Frilled Dragon Care Sheet

Quick Reference Section

  • Experience level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Family: Agamidae
  • Scientific name: Chlamydosaurus kingii
  • Other Names: Frilled Lizard, Frilled Agama, Frilled-neck Lizard
  • Average adult size:  males grow to nearly 3 feet, with the tail 2/3 of its total length
  • Lifespan: 8-10 years with the longest recorded lifespan at 20 years
  • Clutch Size: 8-20 tiny eggs per clutch (1 to 3 clutches per season)
  • Egg Incubation Period: 70 days
  • Food: insects, spiders, other invertebrates
  • Average Temperature: Daytime- between 29.5°C to 32°C, Nighttime-between 24°C to 26.5°C.
  • Humidity: 70%
  • UVB lighting: Highly Recommended
  • Average price range: $150 – $250
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern

Frilled Dragon Facts

Frilled-neck Lizard
Frilled Lizard

To have a Frilled Dragon for a pet reptile is like having a small dinosaur. Remember seeing something similar but much, much bigger? Yes! a frilled dinosaur was featured in Jurassic Park.

The Frilled Dragon is native to Northern Australia and New Guinea. It belongs to the Agamidae Family and Chlamydosaurus Genus. It goes by the scientific name of Chlamydosaurus kingii. Some also call it a Frilled Lizard or Frilled-neck Lizard.

This species can have adult males that measure between 17 inches to 35 inches long. Females are smaller in size with some having larger frills than that of males.

The tail takes 2/3 of its length. The mouth is yellow and a unique, extendible frill can be seen under the throat and round the neck area.

When threatened or gearing up for an encounter, it opens its mouth wide open and the frill takes on a bright color. To see the frill in action can be mesmerizing to its owner but any prey or potential predator is likely to get intimidated.

Frilled Dragons can put up a good defense. They have 2 long and pointed teeth in the lower jaw that can inflict painful bites.

The Frilled Lizard can run fast using its 2 legs. It can sprint away from danger and swiftly climb up to the nearest tree for cover.

Frills can be lighter or darker in some adult Frilled Dragons. The shade can be brown or grey, with orange to reddish-brown marks.

Frilled Dragon Habitat

Frilled Lizard
Frilled Agama

In its natural environment, the Frilled Dragon prefers the trees. It is an arboreal lizard. Sightings have been observed around eucalyptus tree forests.

Enclosure

Consider a tall and wide enough enclosure for this pet. If your pet grows significantly, you’ll need to upgrade to a larger tank or whatever type of enclosure you prefer.

You can use a 50-gallon tank at a minimum while your pet is young. Go custom once your Frilled Dragon reaches adulthood. Ideally, the enclosure should be at least 6 feet high and 3 feet wide.

Use sturdy furniture and accessories. Firmly install lighting and any equipment so they don’t get loose or knocked off by your highly energetic pet reptile. Consider using clamps and secure lamp clips.

Using more fake plants than live ones is an option since Frillies often damage plants. Logs and cork bark are great for climbing and basking.

Note that Frilled Dragons are highly active lizards and they love to climb.  Their muscular build and long toes and claws are made for climbing.

Make sure that the enclosure can satisfy that natural craving. Else, they may get stressed.

Cleaning

Frilled Dragons have a tendency to defecate in their water bowls. So, clean the bowl daily and change the water often.

Clearing the enclosure (especially the substrate) from fecal matter, dirt, and food particles daily will prevent bacteria and odor build-up. You can use a strainer or a shovel to make the task easier.

Also, observe routine cleaning and sanitation of decors and the sides of the enclosure.

Substrate

For substrate, you can select (or combine) mulch, sand, paper, soil, and rocks. For the safety of a young Frilled Dragon, you can initially use newspapers or paper towels as substrates.

This prevents impaction, an obstruction of the bowel caused by rocks or sand the lizard consumes when it lunges on its prey.

Temperature

Maintain daytime temperatures between 29.5°C to 32°C and nighttime temperatures between 24°C to 26.5°C. A thermostat helps monitor the temperature and keeps it steady.

Have an appointed basking spot for when your pet Frilled Dragon wants more heat. Keep it at 35°C to 37.5°C.  You can buy a basking light and/or a heating mat for this.

Humidity

Humidity is important for the Frilled Dragon. Keep levels optimum by misting once during the day and once during the night. You can use a pressurized water spray dispenser for this.

If you are using moss as a substrate, spread them out and keep them damp. This is helpful for maintaining humidity levels.

Let your Frilled Dragon enjoy some minutes showering and soaking in a tub at least once weekly. These help with hydration.

Watch your pet reptile for warning signs that mean humidity levels are low.  Rough, wrinkled skin, crusty eyes, and lack of energy are some of these telltale signs. Increase the frequency of misting if you observe any of these warning signs.

Lighting

It’s advisable to let your pet Frilled Dragon enjoy natural sunlight at appointed times. This is essential for its health. At other times, a UVB light may suffice. It helps with Calcium absorption and Vitamin D3 synthesis.

Accessories

You may decorate the enclosure with large rocks and caves. If you have a basking light, consider adding some screens to safeguard your pet Frilled Dragon from accidental burns.

Frilled Dragon Feeding

frilled dragon (chlamydosaurus-kingii)
Frilled-neck Lizard

Feeding Frilled Dragons is hassle-free. They are not picky eaters. You can give your pet Frilled Dragon with small insects like ants, superworms, and mealworms. Spiders, large crickets, and roaches are a welcome treat. On occasion, offer some mice pinkies or rats.

Overfeeding your Frilled Dragon may cause it to refuse feeding for days to some weeks. It should be okay. Unless it becomes stressed for other reasons, your pet reptile should eventually start eating again.

Temperament

When properly handled and cared for, Frilled Dragons are not aggressive towards people, particularly, their owners. It will, however, attack other lizard species.

On a general note, you can expect your pet to be highly active, fast, and alert to its surroundings. They are curious reptiles. You may find them roaming around and exploring.

At other times, they may be content to sit on a perch above, looking down below or up ahead. Frilled Dragons have a calm and laid-back side. They can bask upon their logs for long periods of time with their mouths open (for breathing).

Handling

Frilled Agama (Frilled Dragon)
Frilled Dragon

The gaping mouth and extended frill can make you think that the Frilled Dragon is highly aggressive. But, it is not. It’s just a defensive stance. This pet reptile is active and alert yet it is calm and easygoing with its owners.

Pet owners will find the Frilled Dragon a very tame and calm pet. Just remember to give it gentle handling and keep its environment and feeding routine stress-free.

Common Health Concerns (Issues/Solutions)

With proper care, Frilled Dragons won’t have serious health concerns. Just check your new pet for mites when it arrives. Sometimes, these hide on the undersides of the frills or corners of the mouth.

Your pet may get some abrasions in the snout as it adjusts to its new home. Generally, these active lizards are not prone to health issues.

Pricing and Availability

Prices range from $150 to $250. You can purchase one from an online captive breed seller or expos.

Conservation/Threats?

There is currently no concern for the survival of this species. In the wild, the population faces threats from predators like snakes, feral cats, dingoes, birds of prey, and larger lizards.

It’s also interesting to note that the species is a popular choice among exotic pet collectors. Both in the wild and in captivity, the Australian Frilled Dragons are harder to acquire compared to the Indonesia variant.

Conclusion

Taking care of a Frilled Dragon can be greatly satisfying for the intermediate or advanced reptile pet owner. This fascinating reptile is sure to entertain, amaze, and capture your heart.

It may take some time to earn their trust and affection. Bear with the adjustment period and you’ll soon have your Frilled Dragon pet calmly sitting on your shoulder.

Care for your Frilled Dragon properly so that you can enjoy the company of a stress-free pet lizard that’s agreeable and interactive.

If you’ve tried your hand at caring for the Frilled Dragon, leave us a comment below. We’d love to hear about your experience with this amazing pet lizard.

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