Frilled Necked Lizard
Frilled Neck Lizard
What does it look like (Appearance)
The Frilled Neck Lizard is an amazing little reptile. It is also an Australian icon.
They belong to the family of lizards called 'dragons'.
The Frilled Neck Lizards are between 70 to 90 cms long and they are covered with scales. They have a 'frill' around their head. When the lizard gets frightened, it opens its mouth and the red and orange scaly frill opens up. This is to make the lizard appear larger and is one of its defensive strategies against predators. The lizard can also run very fast, and it runs very fast on its two back legs.
The lizard hisses loudly too and may thrash its tail on the ground. Frilled lizards will bite an enemy with its strong teeth if it is forced to fight.
Adult Frilled Lizards vary in size and weight but are usually between 70-95cm in length (from head to tail). Their long, strong tail can measure up to 65cm alone. They can weigh up to 500g. The diameter of the frill is 20-25cm, about the size of a small dinner plate!
Male frilled neck lizards are more brightly coloured than females. Frilled lizards are not poisonous or harmful to people.
Where they live (Habitat)
Frilled Neck Lizards live in dry forests and woodland, in the northern and north-western parts of Australia. They are often found in trees, moving easily between branches. The Frilled Neck Lizard is active during the day, relying on the sun to warm its body. Its colour matches the colour of the land and the trees it lives on. This is called camouflage. Frilled Lizards generally live alone, and are territorial.
What they eat
Frilled lizards are usually active during the day. The Frilled Neck Lizard insects like cicadas, termites, caterpillars, beetles, grasshoppers and ants. They also eat small mammals and small lizards.
The male Frilled Lizard performs an elaborate dance to attract a female. It is always the male who courts the female. For the female to make her interest known she will head bob and not run away, showing no aggression. Mating occurs around September. The male is extremely territorial and becomes aggressive towards other males or rivals.
The female lays 8-23 eggs in the ground around November. The tiny eggs weigh 3-5g. The eggs hatch in 8-12 weeks, usually in February. Young Frilled Neck Lizards are fully independent as soon as they hatch.
The lifespan of a Frilled Lizard in the wild is unknown. In captivity it is about 20 years.
The main predators are birds of prey such as Wedge-tailed Eagles and owls, larger lizards, snakes, dingoes and quolls.
While the Frilled Lizard is in no present danger of extinction, in the south eastern parts of its range it is diminishing in numbers. This is a result of land clearing, destruction of habitat and hunting by feral cats.
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