Affectionately called “frillies,” Frilled lizards are a striking reptile with a fun and intimidating sense of fashion. Their trademark frill—their most distinct feature and the reason for their name—is only displayed when the lizard is frightened or during courtship rituals. A relatively large lizard, Frilled lizards are at home in northern Australia, and (like many of Australia’s animal inhabitants) they have evolved a few interesting and unique characteristics. Frilled lizards live in a variety of different habitats. Interestingly, the color of a Frilled lizard is largely dependent on the area where it is found. Lizards in a dry and arid region often have red, brown, or orange scales—but those that live in a damper, more tropical climate will be gray or even green in color. This interesting pattern of adapted coloration acts as camouflage, allowing them to blend in with their surroundings and avoid the prying eyes of potential predators. These Frilled lizards are arboreal, meaning that they spend the majority of their time in the trees. Much of this time, especially during the dry season, is spent resting to conserve energy. In order to catch food, Frilled lizards will descend from the trees and hunt small invertebrates. They have also been known to occasionally feed on small mammals or scavenge pieces of meat. As cold-blooded reptiles, Frilled lizards must regulate their body temperature in order to stay healthy. They do this by basking in the sun for extended periods of time, absorbing heat via solar radiation. It was previously thought that their frills aided in this process, but this has been disproven. When frightened, Frilled lizards will extend the bones of their frill to appear much larger and more intimidating than they actually are. This is what is known as a diamatic display. If a predator pursues them, Frilled lizards are capable of running in a bipedal manner on their two hind legs, achieving great speeds. Aside from these tactics, Frilled lizards are largely defenseless, falling prey to dingoes, eagles, snakes, and even larger lizards.
Keywords to learn
Diamatic display: an animal with weak defences attempting to scare predators by appearing larger or more dangerous
Bipedal: able to move by means of two hind limbs
Scientific Name:Chlamydosaurus kingii.
Population Status:Least concern.
Current population trend:Stable.
Sexual maturity:9 months.
The Frilled lizard is an interesting and unique reptile with a distinctive look. More than just a fashionable accessory, their frills serve an important purpose and allow us to learn more about them as a species.
Now that you know more about the Frilled lizard by learning the key data above, be sure also to check out the fun facts. When you are finished learning the facts, try answering the questions in the Q&A corner on the bottom right side of the page.
Download questions about the Frilled lizard here: Frilled Lizard (answers are on this page)
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Frilled Lizard Fun Facts for Kids
- # 1. The frill of a Frilled lizard can be up to 30cm in diameter.
- # 2. Australian 2-cent coins featured the Frilled lizard on their reverse until 1991.
- # 3. Their bipedal movement of the Frilled lizard helps them to accelerate quickly.
- # 4. Temperature determines the sex of Frilled lizards, with eggs kept at warm temperatures produceding only female offspring.
- # 5. The Frilled lizard is sometimes called the bicycle lizard.
- # 1. Does the Frilled lizard use its frill to regulate body temperature?
- # 2. The Frilled lizard appeared on which Australian coin?
- # 3. What determines a Frilled lizard’s coloration?
- # 4. What are the Frilled lizard’s two strategies of defense?
- # 5. Where do Frilled lizards live?