This detailed, comprehensive guide on frilled dragon care will teach you about their enclosure, health, diet, behavior, and more!
The frilled dragon is a fascinating reptile that has grabbed the attention of many reptile keepers. Frilled Dragon has the scientific species name Chlamydosaurus kingii, but the names commonly known are Frilled lizard, frilled Agama, or frilled dragon. This lizard has a frill like neck and is one and the only members of the genus Chlamydosaurus.
This lizard is known by such common names due to a sizeable frill-like structure that wraps and folds around the lizard’s neck. The frilled dragon spends most of its time in the trees because it is arboreal. It eats mainly insects and small-sized invertebrates but sometimes can rarely feed on plants also. It is a large-sized lizard with a total length of 85 cm, including the tail, and is kept by some people as exotic pets.
Frilled Dragon Availability
Northern areas of Australia and Southern areas of New Guinea are the regions where frilled dragons are found abundantly. Rarely, it can be found in Australian desert regions. Humid environments such as Tropical woodlands are the primary inhabiting areas of this lizard.
As already mentioned, it is an arboreal lizard, so it only comes to the floor to find food. Usually they stay on trees for shelter and thermoregulation.
In the natural environment, the frilled dragon can survive for about 20 years. Still, in captivity, it has an expected lifespan of about 10-15 years if proper care and the environment is provided to it.
Frilled Dragon Appearance
Size: The frilled dragon lizard is a large lizard reaching up to 85 cm, including its tail. The size of male frillies is bigger than the females.
Color: It has a tree bark-like appearance, having spots of brown and grey colors mixed in a mottled fashion. We can’t say that it has a standard color, the color varies according to the environment in which the lizard lives. For example, those frilled dragons living in dryer climates have a mixed color scheme of orange, brown, and red shades. Those that inhabit tropical regions have a mixture of grey and dark brown colors.
Frilled Dragon Housing Requirements
As these lizards are arboreal, take care to create an environment in captivity similar to the natural ones. Provide tree branches to the frilled dragons for climbing and foliage to make the leaves available for lizards to hide. They have a habitat in extensive humid forests and trees so the terrarium must have the same conditions. It is better to choose a terrarium with a large open end for the best frilled dragon care.
The frilled dragons should be housed in a large tank of about 55-gallon size, which could provide space for exercise.
Frilled lizards need to regulate their body temperature by moving around the cage as they are cold-blooded. So you have to look for the optimum temperature in the enclosure.
These lizards need 85-115⁰F temperature during the daytime. Only one part of the cage should have a temperature of 115⁰F while the remaining enclosure should be kept at around 90-100⁰F.
The temperature should not fall below 75⁰F at night time. Different heat sources can provide heat, including UV bulbs, heating pads under the tank, incandescent lights, and heat emitters made of ceramic.
Frilled Dragon Lighting
One of the exciting aspects of taking care of the frilled lizards is the lighting in the terrarium. These lizards usually inhabit dense forests where the branches of trees and leaves filter the sunlight. Light is crucial for the frillies as they convert this light into vitamin D3. This vitamin is vital for their health.
Providing a UV bulb light source is of most importance while keeping frillies in tanks. An ultraviolet bulb with a 10 percent UVB should be installed to provide sufficient light for this specie. There is a triple duty bulb available in the market that provides the heat, UV light, and light to brighten up the enclosure. There are other bulbs as well, such as a nocturnal bulb which can’t be seen by the frillies, and they serve the same purpose (illumination and heat).
55-65 percent of humidity in the environment is considered mandatory for frillies. Sprays or mists can be used frequently each day to maintain a humid climate in the tank. The moisture levels can be best judged by installing a hygrometer. Moisture is also necessary to help frilled lizards shed their skin or to cool down their temperature.
The lining or the bedding of your pet’s cage is called the substrate. Paper towels or newspapers can be used to keep the baby frillies. But for adults, the best substrate can protect the frillies and provide cushioning if they fall. The substrate should also have good humidity holding properties. Coconut fiber, cypress mulch, organic soil used in pots, and sphagnum moss are good options as a substrate. Reptile carpets can also be used but do not hold a fair amount of humidity.
Plants and Decorations
The terrarium for frilled dragon care can be decorated using rock backgrounds, branches, vines, plants, and rocks. Absorbent oak or Troncho branches should be used. For artificial ornaments, you can use natural stones such as slate.
While cleaning the enclosure, remove the animal, decorations, and bedding from the tank and then spray the tank’s interior with a disinfectant that should be reptile friendly. They should only be left for 30 seconds as they work rapidly. Then wipe the surface with a paper towel
Frilled Dragon – Best Pet Reptile?
Don’t try to take them out of their enclosures if they don’t feel comfortable. Anything forced on the frillies can stress them; they frill-out and can try to bite you.
Frilled Lizard Health
Common Health Issues: Most of the health issues in these lizards arise due to improper care. Deficiency of Vitamin D and mal-absorption of calcium can cause health issues in these pets. Issues leading to soft bones, weakening of limbs and jawbones, and lying straight on the ground. Also indicating a poor posture, sedentary and anorectic. To overcome these health issues, they need daily Ultraviolet light exposure.
In addition to UV light, these lizards need an adequate amount of humidity and heat. If not provided in sufficient amounts, they can face respiratory health issues. The respiratory infections are indicated by mucous around the mouth and nasal passage, open mouth breathing, and wheezing.
If you see your lizard refuses to take food, there must be a digestive issue with it. Could probably be some parasitic infection.
A difficulty in shedding indicates fungal infections in frilled lizards.
An expert veterinarian, especially for exotic pets, should be consulted to get your lizard examined for any abnormalities. Providing utmost friled dragon care ensures they will be healthy and not experience any issues.
Frilled Lizard Food & Diet
The frilled lizards are carnivores; they can eat small-sized mammals and other reptiles that they can overpower. Moreover, they feed on termites, beetles, mice, and cicadas with the favorites being butterflies and their larvae and moths.
These frillies are among ambush predators which means they hide in the soil and wait for the prey to pass by them. As soon as the target passes, they attack them and have their meal. The frillies love to eat in abundant amounts, especially in the winter season. They can eat even thousands of ants and termites.
In captivity, they feed on almost everything which fits into their mouth due to small size. Some good options may be silkworms, hornworms, superworms, waxworms, mealworms, and large crickets to feed your dragon.
Frilled Dragon Behavior & Temperament
The frilled necked lizard is a docile reptile. When it feels some danger in the surroundings, it uses its hind legs to stand up. Then it will open up its frill and expand it. Next it opens its mouth and spits. Frilled lizards use their legs to run away from the predators found in the wild. While in captivity, these lizards can bite your hand if you provoke them to do so.
When opened, the frill of the dragon lizard looks so beautiful. Unfortunately it is an indication of fear and stress on the lizard or indicates that something is bothering it. If the lizard opens its frill frequently, it shows an underlying health issue in the frilly.
When In captivity, you have to take care of the space availability. If you keep two males together, they will be fighting with each other as a territorial influencer. If males and females are kept together, they may breed and produce many babies. Be prepared to double the size of your enclosure if this happens.
In my opinion, keeping frilled dragons as pets can be fascinating and rewarding. When they become familiar with the environment, they quickly start recognizing their keeper and can be comical sometimes. I suggest keeping this exotic pet could be an incredible experience if you are looking for something new to keep. Just remember to follow this frilled dragon care guide to keep your pet healthy.