How to Care for Your Frilled Lizard

February 12, 2021

frilled lizard


Frilled lizards (Chlamydosaurus kingii) are 2-3’ long, diurnal, arboreal lizards native to the tropical forests of Australia and New Guinea. Frilled lizards are primarily brown, black and/or gray patterned, though in some localities they may have red, orange or yellow coloring as well. They get their common name from the large flap of skin around the neck, which can expand into a circular “frill” when they are on the defensive. 

Frilled lizards are skittish and not very handleable, and can be difficult to care for. For this reason, they are intermediate- to advanced-level reptiles.


Adult frilled lizards require large enclosures, with a minimum size of 5’L x 2.5’W x 4-6’H.  In order to ensure that the frilled lizard feels safe, it’s important to cover 3 sides of the enclosure to make it cave-like.

Since frilled lizards are primarily arboreal, you will need to install sturdy branches and ledges that will enable them to climb and bask. The enclosure should include at least 6” of humidity-friendly substrate, such as soil, sand and coco fiber mix, or cypress mulch. 

Humidity should average around 75%. Misting the enclosure with a pressure sprayer 2x/day will help maintain appropriate humidity. Misting also provides water for the dragon to drink, although a water bowl should also be provided.

Heating and Lighting

Frilled lizards basking surface temperatures of 115°F.  The basking surface should be placed high in the enclosure, directly under a cluster of at least two halogen flood heat lamps. The air temperature in the remainder of the enclosure should be 85-90F during the day, and in the high 75-80°F at night. You may need to use a radiant heat panel to help maintain nighttime temps.

You will also need a high-quality UVB lamp of Zoo Med or Arcadia brand, half the length of the enclosure, mounted in a reflective fixture, and of an appropriate strength for frilled lizards. UVB lamps decay over time, so you will need to replace the bulb every 12 months to maintain performance.

Food and Supplementation

Frilled lizards are insectivorous, so they primarily eat a variety of bugs and worms including crickets, dubia and other roaches, hornworms, silkworms, and superworms.  Some frilled lizards have been known to eat chopped fruits and vegetables as well, so they should be offered freely.

Feeders should be dusted with Repashy Calcium Plus LoD to balance your pet’s nutrition.

*This care sheet contains only very basic information. If you are new to frilled lizards, please do additional research to obtain additional information from more detailed care sheets.


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