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Interesting Facts About the Frilled Lizard

written by: Diana Cooper•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 2/16/2011

Learn about this Australian creature that has some remarkable abilities. Find frilled lizard facts, including how they behave, where they live, what they eat, how long they live and more!

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    The Frilled Lizard

    Frilled Lizard Frilled lizards, also known as frilled neck lizards, belong in the Agamidae family, are native to Australia and can be found living in the northern region of the country as well as in southern parts of New Guinea. They are most active during the wet season when water and food is abundant. During the dry season, their metabolic rates decrease by 23 percent and they will spend the majority of their time resting on trees. Below are more interesting frilled lizard facts, including information on how they react when they feel threatened.

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    Even during the wet season, frilled lizards spend a lot of time on trees. It is for this reason they have developed a highly effective camouflage which helps protect them from predators. They can grow to almost three feet in length, from head to tail, and weigh a little over one pound. Males are larger than females. Their most distinguishable feature is the frill around their neck which is connected to the muscles of the jaws and tongue. It lies like a cape around the shoulders but opens up like an umbrella when the lizard opens its mouth. When fully erected, the distance from one side to the other can be up to 12 inches.

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    Frilled Lizard When frilled lizards feel threatened, they will stand up on their hind legs, open their brightly colored mouths and frills, hiss and leap at or chase the aggressor. If this does not scare off the aggressor, the lizard will take off running on its hind legs to the nearest tree.

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    Large lizards, birds of prey, dingoes, feral cats and snakes are their main predators.

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    Frilled lizards live in grassy woodlands and sclerophyll forests. They prefer living on large trees with canopy perches and usually reside on the lower parts of the tree while other lizards normally live on the top parts of the tree. Frilled lizards, especially the males, will go to great extents to defend their territory.

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    These lizards mainly sit and wait for their food to come to them. They mostly catch their prey while perched on the tree but will occasionally leave the tree to run after its food. They feed on a variety of insects, including ants, spiders, termites, cicadas, moths and the larva of butterflies. They are also known to eat small lizards and even small mammals.

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    Mating season takes place during the wet season, between September and February. Frilled lizards are oviparous. The female will lay an average of 8 to 14 eggs in an underground nest. The incubation period lasts about 70 days. The hatchlings receive no parental care and are fully independent. Females can have up to two clutches of eggs in one mating season.

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    More Frilled Lizard Facts

    Australian Two Cent Coin They are the reptile emblem of Australia and is featured on their two cent coin (which they don't make anymore).

    The number of these lizards have decreased in recent years due to land clearings, fires and predation by feral cats, but they are currently not considered to be threatened.

    It is not known how long they live in the wild but they can live up to 20 years in captivity.

    Frilled lizards seldom display their frill in captivity.

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    National Geographic:

    Frilly Facts:

    Animal Diversity Web:

    Chlamydosaurus kingii: