The frilled lizard’s (also known as the frilled dragon) terrifying “frill” — a big, colorful, circular skin membrane that protrudes upward and outward — is a well-known warning show that it employs when it feels threatened. It serves to make a frilled lizard that is grasping a tree trunk vertically and attempting to blend in appear considerably larger and scarier than it would otherwise.
Frilled lizards, often known as “frillies,” are found in extreme southern New Guinea and northern Australia. It is the second largest member of the Agamidae family, behind the sailfin dragon. Male Australian frilled lizards are roughly 3 feet long, and male New Guinean frilled lizards are about 2 feet long.
Frilled lizards may live approximately 10 years in captivity. Frequent egg-laying may cause a slight diminution in height among females.
A 20-gallon “tall” tank is enough for a single pair of 12-inch-long juvenile frillies. It is advocated that installing a visible barrier on all sides of the tank except for one, the viewing side, as this will contribute to the required sense of security. Feeling exposed might cause frilled lizards to become anxious and hypervigilant anytime anything moves in the room where their enclosure is located. In addition, the restricted vision makes it easier for them to concentrate when food is provided.
Adult enclosures can range between 4 and 6 feet in height, at least 212 feet in depth, and 5 feet in length, particularly if you are rearing a breeding couple or trio of frilled lizards. The dimensions can be somewhat reduced for a single adult, but height is crucial. The height at which a frilled lizard can bask correlates with increased sense of safety.
Different diameter branches should be arranged vertically, diagonally, and horizontally. Attach a branch or shelf to the enclosure’s back wall’s upper part. These will give numerous perching and basking spots for your frilled lizard(s).
Temperature and lighting
Frilled lizards are basking lizards that require a good source of UVB light (mercury vapor or fluorescent) and basking bulbs for heat. The temperature of the basking area should be approximately 115 degrees Fahrenheit, with the concentration on a branch in the upper quadrant of the cage. Try not to position the light too near to the branch, since frillies can easily burn the tops of their frills if they are exposed to a hot light for too long.
The remainder of the cage should be kept at 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures at night should fall to between 75 and 80 degrees.
In colder climates or during the winter, heat tape can be used to warm the floor of the cage, or ceramic heat emitters should be utilized to maintain the required ambient temperature inside the enclosure. Please carefully follow the installation instructions to avoid lizard burns and house fires.
The preferred substrate is a mixture of coco fiber, play sand, and organic potting soil with a depth of around 2 inches. This substrate retains moisture efficiently and is dust-free. Other possible substrates are cypress-only mulch and commercial forest bedding.
A frilled lizard’s primary diet should consist of insects like crickets, roaches, hornworms, silkworms, soldier fly larvae, superworms, and canned grasshoppers (available in some stores that sell reptile supplies). All insects should be dusted with a supplement including calcium and vitamin D3. Depending on the size of the lizard, a pinky or fuzzy mouse can also be given.
It’s been tried feeding frilled lizards vegetables; sometimes it is consumed, and other times it is ignored. Set a small bowl with finely chopped fruits and vegetables (including squash, papaya, cantaloupe, bananas, berries, collard greens, mustard greens, and carrots) and a few superworms in the cage.
Up to three times each day, juvenile frilled lizards should be fed insects no larger than two-thirds of their head width. At each feeding, they should also be misted with fresh water.
Adults will consume food one or twice every day. Boost their diet with calcium and vitamin D3 at each (and occasionally every other) feeding. Pregnant female frilled lizards should be fed more frequently and given calcium/vitamin D3 at each meal.
Some frilled lizards do not tolerate the stress of being relocated to an open area. Frillies are quite docile in their enclosures and can also be that way outside of them. If your lizard does not appear to appreciate being outside of its cage, please do not force it to do so. Priority number one is a healthy, content lizard in its enclosure, even if this means it will be a display animal and not a pet.
A stressed frilled lizard will “fluff out” with its mouth open, hiss, and may even attempt to attack or bluff-bite you. A frilled lizard performing its defense display can be an impressive sight, but it is detrimental to their health to coax them to do so.