top of page

Little guys will eat pinkies.

Frilled Lizards Care Articles : 

1- Frilled Dragon (Chlamydosaurus kingii) Care Sheet

courtesy to :

Frilled Dragons inhabit the tropical and sub tropical areas of southern New Guinea and northern Australia. These lizards prefer dry forests and savannahs, where they can be found on tree stumps or other look out points.  The Frilled Dragons habitat has a distinct wet and dry period.  These lizards prefer the wet season and are usually inactive during the dry season.  Male Frilled Dragons can reach 22 to 36 inches, while females typically range from 17 to 25 inches.  Sexing is fairly easy, males have larger heads, frills and bulges at the base of the tail.  


Temperature & UV Lighting:


 Frilled Dragons require temperatures from 85-95 degrees during the day, with a drop to about 75 at night. It is also recommended that humidity be maintained between 50%-75%, this can be accomplished by daily misting.  Frilled Dragons require 10-12 hrs a day of UVB light, this light produces Vitamin D3, which enables them to metabolize calcium. Without a UVB light these lizards will not grow properly and over time their bones will get soft and your lizard will die. Also it is very important to change your UVB light every 6-8 months, after this time the light stops producing adequate UVB.  If you’re not sure if your UV light is still producing UVB, bring it in and we’ll be happy to test the light for you.


Housing and Bedding:


 Frilled Dragons can be housed in our 29 gallon terrarium as babies and juveniles.  Adults should be housed in a minimum of 4 x 2 x 2.  We recommend that you use bark or coconut bark as bedding.  This substrate will help maintain humidity and is fairly easy to clean.


Calcium :


Filled Dragons also require a calcium and vitamin supplement. This supplement works with the UVB light allowing the lizard to receive the proper amounts of calcium and vitamins. This should be used every day as babies and reduced to 1-2 times a week as adults.  


Food and Water:


  Frilled Dragons should be provided with a water dish large enough for them to soak in. They should also be misted about once a day to help increase humidity and they will typically drink the droplets of water when misted.   Frilled Dragons should be fed a variety of food items such as crickets, mealworms, superworms, and wax worms.  Adult Frilled Dragons can also be offered pink or fuzzy mice for extra protein.  We recommend that you feed baby and juvenile Frilled Dragons as much as they will eat, while adults can be fed 4-5 times per week.







2- Keeping Frillies :

courtesy to :

by Paul & Toni Curtis © 2004

It seems somewhat ironic that the one reptile Australia is particularly famous for, the fascinating Frilled Lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii), has been rather difficult for people to actually see unless they physically went to the very northern parts of Australia. Many travellers through southern regions regularly report seeing a "Frilled Lizard" in the wild, but in reality, have spotted a Bearded Dragon with its "beard" displayed. A decade ago, not many zoos or individuals kept "frillies", as captive bred stock was hard to obtain and quite difficult to keep.


However, since then, both the availability of these intriguing lizards and the understanding of their needs in captivity have improved. This is largely due to a breeding program undertaken by The Royal Melbourne Zoo. Over the past few years, with the zoo's ongoing advice and support, my wife and I have also had good keeping and breeding success. We would now like to outline some of the techniques that we have adopted and developed. If you are about to acquire frillies, we hope that the suggestions in this care-sheet will be of some help.

Who should keep frillies?


Frillies are not lizards for beginners. In South Australia and some other states, a specialist "keep" permit is required for them. If you have successfully kept other reptiles for a number of years you may well qualify. However, if you are thinking of purchasing your first lizard, we would suggest, perhaps, a bearded dragon. "Beardies" are cheaper to purchase and easier to keep. Also, their general temperament is more suited to handling. Much of the information in the booklet "Caring for Bearded Dragons" applies equally well to the keeping of Frilled Lizards and we would suggest that a prospective frilly keeper read the booklet first.

The Australian Frilled Lizard - a national icon, now being kept and bred by more and more amateur herpetologists.

The combination of the extended frill and gaping mouth gives the Frill Necked Lizard a unique visual impact. Even for this juvenile, the use of the frill in this way can prove quite effective in deterring predators 

Frillies may attain quite a large size in just 2 or 3 years and need fairly spacious accommodation 

What sort of cage setup is required?


It is preferable that the vivarium be at least as high as it is long. It should also be raised off the ground so that, when in the normal basking position, the occupants are at about your eye level. In the wild, frillies spend most of their lives in trees, so if you provide a number of trunks and branches, the animals will feel more at home and secure. In fact, multiple basking sites in a fairly large vivarium may allow you to keep a number of frillies together. Pine-bark potting stakes, available at some garden outlets, can be fixed to the walls or to poles to resemble small upright tree trunks. Make sure they have a rough texture and are of an adequate diameter for the lizards to hide behind. We have found that fine, clean sand is adequate for the floors of frilly enclosures. Since these animals require fairly high humidity, a large water bowl should be placed at the cooler end of the vivarium. Use a shallower bowl or put a rock in it if the lizards are too small to scramble out easily. It should be cleaned and refilled frequently. General cage construction as well as heating and UV lighting requirements are discussed in the aforementioned booklet.


How many frillies can I house together?


If a fairly large, tall vivarium (eg. 1000mm wide x 1000mm high x 500mm deep) with numerous basking sites is used, it is possible to keep a whole clutch of hatchling or juvenile frillies together. The same enclosure could take up to 4 sub-adult animals or 1 -2 adult lizards. Depending on their rate of growth we would consider them hatchlings at 0-3 months, juveniles at 4-12 months, sub-adults at 13-19 months and adults, capable of breeding, at about 20 months and over.


Keep a careful watch for sub-adult and adult lizards that start to be intimidated by others, and relocate them, if necessary. It is unwise to house adult males together as a larger more dominant male may exhibit territorial aggression toward more submissive individuals. This could cause significant stress and possible injury. If a female appears to be gravid we suggest it be placed on its own in a vivarium with 200mm of dampened substrate made from an equal mix of peat moss and potting soil. To prevent eggs being deposited in the water, particularly with first-time mothers, the bowl should be removed when she looks like she is about to lay. If the bowl is removed and the lizard is not eating, make sure it does not become dehydrated. Egg incubation is also discussed in the previously mentioned booklet.

As indicated, besides crickets and "woodies" (Speckled Feeder Roaches), we feed our lizards a "wet-mix". It consists of about 40%, by volume, of "Kitekat" tinned cat food (Beef & Vegetables variety), 40% finely grated carrot and 20% finely shredded lettuce. (Hatchlings will require these items to be cut extremely fine.) To this mix we occasionaly add a sprinkling of calcium and vitamin supplements. Most adult frillies, if left alone, will come down and feed on their own, particularly if a few drowned woodies are place on their saucer of wet-mix. Woodies will drown in about 1 minute. If they are not immobilized in this way they quite often escape whilst being fed off. We will now describe the precise method we use to feed younger individuals.

How should I feed my frillies?


There are quite a wide variety of foods that lizards such as Bearded Dragons, Water Dragons and Frilled Lizards will eat. Once again, these are discussed at more length in that booklet but we shall now endeavour to explain how we are currently feeding our frillies.


Twice a week in winter and up to three times a week in summer we head down to the reptile room to feed the lizards. This is not done first thing in the morning or very late in the afternoon, but at times when the reptiles are wide awake and alert. I assist by cleaning water bowls and cages and feeding some of the larger frillies whereas my wife usually looks after the "little guys". We use a small table, with a spotlight positioned over it, when we individually feed lizards. We discovered that feeding a group of hatchling or juvenile frillies together, in a vivarium, led to some frill damage. As a frilly eats, the frill flaps in and out, much like the opening and closing of an umbrella. This movement attracts others and can lead to the biting of frills. For this reason, insects are not just thrown into an enclosure for the occupants to chase. We did that once, and found next day that cricket escapees were actually hiding under the frill of the lizards! As well as eliminating these problems, individual feeding also ensures that hatchlings and juveniles are all feeding properly. It is not uncommon for frillies of all ages to suddenly go off their food for a week or so. However, if they are in good condition, this is not of serious concern provided they obtain regular moisture.


Actually, dehydration is a common and sometimes fatal problem with frillies. Many of them don't seem to drink from a bowl as well or as often as most other captive lizards. If they are consuming plenty of moisture-containing food, they may not need to drink at all. However, if they are dehydrated, they will appear lethargic and the bulges over their eye orbits will tend to flatten. If they go off their food, this problem could easily occur and, in this case, additional water needs to be given to them. This can be achieved by dribbling it onto the end of their noses from above, using a large syringe or, alternatively, gently spraying water onto their mouths. This encourages them to begin licking. If they refuse to drink from either of these methods, the water may be put directly into their mouths using a syringe with a soft plastic tube attached. All of this is unnecessary, of coarse, if they are eating sufficient moisture-containing food.

Adult male frilly getting into his salad & cat-food lunch.

Frilly Feed Time can get a bit messy, especially if you 
are offering a wet mix as well as insects. This hatchling of 6 weeks is being individually fed. It has put on condition to the point where it is starting to shed - note the opaque skin on the lower part of it's frill.

We have the meat and vegetable mix on a saucer and endeavor to attract the lizard by moving the food around with a pair of metal forceps. This movement will often start it feeding. The shine from the forceps also helps to attract the lizard. (Any feeding instruments should have sharp edges removed to avoid mouth damage). Hatchlings may, initially, not want to eat this mix. In this case we offer a small to medium cricket or a freshly drowned woodie of an appropriate size. While the lizard is still munching the insect we push some of the mixture into the side of its mouth. Further mouthfuls may then be introduced, while it is eating. Lizards that eat the mix, without needing insect enticements to begin with, are given some to conclude the feeding. Some hatchlings will feed quite easily if individually fed this way, while others may need to be force-fed, at least to begin with. It may be necessary to obtain the help of someone else to gently open its mouth and introduce an insect directly. Once it begins to eat, the follow-on feeding of the mix, as described above, may be commenced. It can be a bit messy and rather tedious but perseverance in feeding does pay off. It should be noted, at this point, that the Royal Melbourne Zoo feed their Frilled Lizards a 95% insectivorous diet.


Is it true that some frillies may sulk?


Yes, and this is probably one of the main reasons why people have problems keeping them. A frilly having a "sulk session" will stare into space and refuse to show interest in anything at all, including your presence. Worse still, it will stubbornly refuse to eat or drink. These mood problems tend to occur more in lizards over the age of about 6 months. For this reason, when obtaining stock it is probably advisable to seek out animals that are feeding well and are between the ages of 3-6 months. The sulking appears to be caused by a number of things, change of location probably being the most obvious one. Even being moved to another vivarium at the same location may be problematic. Over-handling, change of keeper or incompatible partner(s) may be other reasons.


To help it get over this uncooperative mood, try the following: Isolate the animal. Make sure the location is quiet and that no snakes, dominant male lizards, cats and dogs or boisterous children are within its view. Make sure its vivarium is raised well off the ground and that it has branches or trunks that it can hide behind as you approach. If the animal has been relocated, place a curtain in front of the cage and slowly open it over 4-8 weeks. Persevere in getting some food and regular water into it. Ensure that daytime temperatures are adequate - around 30°C at the mid-point of the vivarium. Handle it as little as possible. It may take quite some time for an adult frilly to get over the sulks but in our experience it does, eventually, happen.


How can I avoid frill damage occurring?


In our experience, It is not unusual to have a little frill damage occur over time. However, there are a few precautions that may be taken to minimise this.


Make sure branches don't have sharp bits and twigs attached that could snag a frill. As already mentioned, avoid feeding hatchlings together, as the frill movement that occurs when they chew can attract others and lead to frill biting. Watch out for and separate individuals that show aggression toward others. If they start fighting, frill damage and toe nibbling may occur. Avoid using spray-on reptile skin conditioner on frillies. It may be fine for most reptiles but it acts a bit like glue and tends to stick their frills together in one big lump. Frill tearing may result. If you really want to use it, keep the spray well away from their frills.


In conclusion it may be said that frillies are a unique and fascinating lizard to keep. Although they may not be quite as easy to raise as Bearded or Water Dragons and are more expensive to purchase, they are, none the less, a national icon that more and more reptile enthusiasts are now able to obtain and enjoy!


We would like to sincerely thank the staff of The Royal Melbourne Zoo for their ongoing support. The booklet referred to herein, "Caring For Bearded Dragons", may be obtained from some pet-shops or by contacting the S.A. Herpetology Group, C/- The S.A. Museum, North Tce., Adelaide S.A. 5000.

3- How to Care for Your New Frilled Dragon


courtesy to :,%20Frilled%20Dragon.htm

Aqualand Info on Chlamydosaurus kingii

Frilled Dragon Factoids:


Origin : Northern Australia and southern New Guinea

Maximum Size :2.5 to 3 feet.  Males larger than females.

Longevity :20 years in captivity

Housing :Needs a tall cage

Security :Inhabits the upper layers.  Runs on hind legs.

Water :Large water bowl plus daily misting

Foods :Insects and small critters

Temperature :70 F nights.  About 90 days.  Add a basking light.

Supplements  : Gut load their crickets

Lighting : Full spectrum needed

Attitude : Arboreal.  Mellow. Easy to train.

Threats : Raptors, dingoes, monitors, pythons, and feral cats.


Prologue:  I don't see many frilled dragons on the regular wholesale lists these days.  Perhaps because they're fairly pricy.  They were more populous in 2006 when I took most of the pictures below.  During all the time and a half that passed, I've never had an adult.  The youngsters are fairly mellow so none of mine felt threatened enough to flare their frills at me.  Luckily,  Keith Davis sent me some pictures of his frilled dragons frilling and gave me the okay to use them.  Thanks, Keith.


Keith Davis, Ankeny, IA, October 16, 2010

No problem, you can use any of the pics. I no longer have the Frilly.

Had her for 4+ years.  We happened to be in a pet store in Omaha when we saw her and had to have her!  She loved to eat crickets and super mealworms.



Excellent pic of a ticked off frilled dragon in full flare. Scary, eh?

Frilled dragon with relaxed frill.

Best flare I could get.  Mine were more interest in eating.

Where do They Come from?  Frilled dragons originally came from northern Australia and southern New Guinea.  I don't think you'll see any wild caught ones on the market.  Australia has some strict restrictions on the export of their wildlife.  I have no clue about New Guinea.  Now frilled dragons are mostly bred in captivity.  That's why they're so darned expensive these days.

Why the Frill?  Frilled dragons flare when they feel threatened.  It makes them look larger and more formidable.  Many predators --Aborigines, dingoes, monitors, pythons, feral cats, and birds of prey --  consider them a tasty addition to their menu so they flare when threatened.  If the flare fails, they rear up on their hind legs and head for the hills (or the trees).  They don't spend much time on the ground because of those same predators.  They mostly while away their hours in the trees and venture onto the ground in search of food.  



Using the frills for whatever reason.

Another Use for the Frill:  Reptiles are pretty much ectothermic.  They get their body temperature from their ambient surroundings.  Snakes on the asphalt highway at night are a good example.  As are basking turtles taking a quick dip in the pool to cool off.. Flaring by frilled dragons can help them regulate their temperature.  If they need more body heat, they can gather more warmth when they flare in the sun.  On the other side of the coin, the frills may also help them cool off much like rabbit ears cool off the little leporids.

Up on the roof.

Little guys will eat hand-fed crickets.

Living the high life at the top of the cage.

Frilled dragons like to climb.

Climbing the walls.


Not always a picture of gracefulness.

Cage Parameters:  Since these guys (and gals) prefer to live in the trees, frilled dragons prefer a tall cage.  Give them some sturdy branches to climb on (sturdiness machts nichts when they're still small) and some vines.  Just make sure you keep it easy to clean with no hiding places for crickets.  One of those Reptarium cages with mesh walls would give them even more elbow room.

They love crickets.

And they love mealworms.

Frilled dragons make an excellent but pricy pet dragon.

Big guys will eat adult mice

Best not to offer them live mice.

Once they start eating from your fingers, they'll eat an occasional goldfish.

What do They Eat?  Think of frilled dragons as omnivores that skip the salad bar.  In the wild they eat spiders, ants, termites, smaller lizards, small mammals (basically anything that can't outrun them).  In captivity they like crickets (gut loaded of course), mealworms, superworms, hornworms, waxworms, roaches, mice, and an occasional goldfish. 

Little guys are fairly easy to handle.

Bigger guys may not cooperate at first.


You may want to take the sharp ends off their toenails when they grow larger.

How Big do They Get?  Reputedly frilled dragons grow to three feet (probably males).  The females don't get as big.  And since they live about 20 years in captivity, you'll probably see them attain full size.

Delicately slurping water from his water bowl.

Bigger the better.  They like an occasional dip in the pool.

Water Bowl:  Like most lizards, your frilled dragon prefers to defecate in his water bowl.  This may require daily water changes.  However, this also makes his cage easier to clean.  You need a large water bowl.  Don't fill it to the top or it will slop over.  Slopping over is not necessarily bad if you have the right substrate.  In fact, you'll probably want to mist your dragon once or twice a day.

Make sure they can't reach the overhead basking bulb.

Temperature Requirements:  Since frilled dragons come from a tropical environment, you know they need tropical temps -- up to 90F days and as low as 70F at night.  A basking bulb where they can't reach it offers them a choice of hot spots.  Warmer at the top.  Cooler at the bottom.


Special Lights and Supplements:  Lizards need vitamin D to help them absorb calcium which builds their bones.  Ditto frilled dragons.  A full-spectrum fluorescent bulb works fine.  And/or you can gut load their crickets to provide calcium and miscellaneous vitamins.  Dusting crickets only works when your lizard snarfs them up fast.  Crickets start shucking off that powder as soon as you release them.  You can also give them calcium by feeding them mice or goldfish.  They much prefer the mice.  Don't just throw your mouse in your dragon's cage. Whack the mouse first then hold it by the tail and move it in front of your dragon.  Chomp.  Use tongs if you're a sissy.



Last Words:  If you have the cash, you can't beat a friendly frilled dragon.

Frilled Lizard  .. Introduction


                         .. Care       :    Part one  ..  Part two( Videos ) 



Frilled Lizard  .. Introduction


                         .. Care       :    Part one  ..  Part two( Videos ) 



bottom of page