How Did Frilled Neck Lizard Get Its Name?
The frilled-neck lizard’s name comes from the large frill around its neck, which usually stays folded against the lizard’s body. The frilled-neck lizard, also known as the frilled lizard, frilled dragon or frilled agama, is a species of lizard which is found mainly in northern Australia and southern New Guinea. This species is the only member of the genus Chlamydosaurus.
They vary in color and size from region to region. On average, the larger adults reach about 3 feet (0.9 meters) from head to tail and weigh up to 1.1 pounds (0.5 kilograms). An open frill stretches from 9 to 14 inches wide, making it at least as big as the rest of the lizard. The frill-necked lizard is kept as an exotic pet.
Females lay 8 to 23 tiny eggs in an underground nest, and hatchlings emerge fully independent and capable of hunting and utilizing their frill. Their lifespan in the wild is unknown, but specimens in captivity have lived 20 years.
When frill-necked lizard feels threatened, it rises on its hind legs, opens its yellow-colored mouth, unfurls the colorful, pleated skin flap that encircles its head, and hisses. If an attacker is un-intimidated by these antics, the lizard simply turns tail, mouth and frill open, and bolts, legs splaying left and right. It continues its deliberate run without stopping or looking back until it reaches the safety of a tree.
Frilled lizards, or “frillnecks,” spend most of their lives in the trees, but descend occasionally to feed on ants and small lizards. Other menu items include spiders, cicadas, termites, and small mammals.
Their main predators are birds of prey, larger lizards, snakes, dingoes and feral cats. They are currently not threatened or protected, but habitat reduction and predation in some areas, particularly by feral cats, is affecting their populations.