Frill-necked Dragon


Chlamydosaurus kingii or the Frill-necked Dragon

The frill-necked dragon is often confused with the bearded dragon. It is an unfortunate fact of life that this iconic Australian animal is struggling for appropriate habitat in which to live in south east Queensland. At one time these animals were found in many suburbs around Brisbane. Urban development, loss of trees, pesticides, and domestic animals have confined these lizards to living within small pockets of suitable habitat.

The frill-necked dragon is found in dry sclerophyll forest throughout Queensland, the Northern Territory, and the top end of Western Australia.

These arboreal lizards become quite active after rain, descending to the ground to look for food in the form of insects. After rain in the summer months, female frill necks start digging burrows at the base of trees in which to lay their eggs. The recent rains provide ground that is softened for easier digging, and moisture that will help the eggs develop.

The main function of the frill is thermoregulation. The flap of skin is rich with blood vessels, which, when opened on a hot day, will help to quickly cool the lizard. During winter an open frill will give a large surface area for the sun to warm the blood and increase the ambient body temperature of the animal. Although the frillnecked dragon is Australia's longest dragon, it is better known for its running style. When frightened it will run upright on its hind legs until a tree can be climbed.

Did you know...

  • The bearded dragon found around Brisbane is often incorrectly called a 'frillie' or frill-necked dragon. The lizard you see on display here is the true frill-necked dragon.
  • This iconic Australian animal was once common around Brisbane, but development has pushed it further afield.
  • The frill that gives this lizard its name serves two main functions. It can be used to frighten away attackers. It can also be used to soak up warmth from the sun.
  • This lizard is well known for its running style. When frightened it will run upright on its hind legs until a tree can be climbed.

Where Frillies are found in Australia:

Frill-necked Dragon