Australian Frilled Dragons

Agamidae: Chlamydosaurus Kingii

The frilled dragon (also known more prosaically as the frilled lizard) is a member of the Agamidae family. As such it is a relative of the bearded dragon. Like its cousin it is a native of Australia and New Guinea.

The frilled dragon is an arboreal lizard, meaning that it spends most of its time in trees. Its preferred habitat is woodland and forest. It has excellent camouflage and can be very difficult to see when in a tree. Frilled dragons usually only come down to the ground when they need to forage for food.

The frilled dragon is named after the highly distinctive frill around its neck. This impressive frill consists of large flaps of skin and is opened out as a defence mechanism, to "big itself up". It is also suspected that extending the frill can help the lizard to control its body temperature.

Another distinctive feature of the frilled lizard is that on those occasions when it has to run it does so on its two hind legs.

A fully grown frilled dragon can reach up to 95cm (30 inches) in length. The frill itself can be up to 35cm (14 inches) across. They are mainly carnivorous but will eat some fruit if necessary.

As with other lizards, frilled dragons are becoming increasingly popular outside of Australia and some lizard fans buy them as pets.