Frilled dragons are lizards that are native to certain parts of Australia and New Guinea. They are arboreal in nature and use the frilled part around their neck for camouflaging. The frill that is usually held close to the neck of these lizards is displayed fully, when they get threatened or to attract mates. When threatened, they are found to open their mouth wide, with the frill being exposed fully. They can also run fast with the frill fully open.
Though frilled lizards are considered as a single genus, the color of the frill may vary with those belonging to different habitats. These lizards are larger, with the males reaching a length of around 36 inches. The females of this species are somewhat smaller, as compared to males and have a length of around 25 inches. Even the frill color of the males may be much brighter than the females. These animals are fascinating with these amazing features and are also popular as pets. Though not recommended for a beginner, you must gain a fair understanding about frilled dragon care, before getting one as a pet.
How to Take Care of a Frilled Dragon
Though most of the reptile lovers get frilled dragons as pets for the amazing frilled appearance, such a sight may become a rare treat, once these reptiles get tamed. This is because, there is no more threat to their life and so, they do not have to display their frill to discourage the predators. However, they have a very good lifespan, if taken care of properly.
- First of all, you must make sure whether it is legal to keep these lizards as pets, in your region. In certain locations, specific permit has to be obtained for raising a frilled dragon as a pet. It may also happen that such permission may not be granted for beginners.
- One of the basics of frilled dragon care is to get an ideal enclosure for these lizards. They are large in size and have an active lifestyle, which means that they need a somewhat bigger cage. An ideal one must have a minimum dimension of 36" x 24" x 48".
- The above said cage dimension is the minimal requirement for a single adult member. If there is more than one, you have to choose bigger enclosures. However, it is not advisable to keep two males in a cage, but you may go for a male and female pair. Babies can be grown in 20-30 gallon tanks, till they reach two to three months of age.
- As they are arboreal lizards, their cage must be tall. You must provide them with live or artificial plants and branches. Even rocks are good for these lizards, who like basking.
- An ideal substrate for a frilled dragon enclosure is coconut bark. You may also use newspaper, sand or paper towel for this purpose. The substrate has to be cleaned on a daily basis and should be replaced one in every three months.
- The enclosure must provide the reptile with a hot region (with broad spectrum heat bulbs) as well as a cooler location. While, the temperature of the cooler part can be around 75 to 85°F, the hotter part (for basking) must have a temperature of 95 to 100°F.
- Another important requirement is UVB light, which is needed for producing vitamin D3 in their body. This vitamin is very much necessary for calcium absorption. You need to place this light in such a way that the lizards get exposed to it, within a range of six to ten inches.
- Even exposure to natural sunlight is said to be beneficial for these lizards. You must also take care of the humidity that should be maintained between 55 to 65%.
- Make sure to provide the frilled dragon with a dish full of fresh water that has to be changed every day. These reptiles love to feed on insects and the ideal ones are crickets, cockroaches, super worms, horn worms, silkworms, and butter worms. You may also include fruits, vegetables and greens in frilled dragon diet. Misting the lizards as well as the enclosure is beneficial in raising the humidity as well as to hydrate the reptile.
- While juveniles have to be fed two times a day, adults are often provided with food, every alternate day. In case of babies, calcium supplement powder is added to the food, almost six days a week and for adults, it is reduced to two to three times a week. Both adults as well as young ones are given a dose of multivitamin powder, once a week.
- Frilled dragons may hibernate during winter months. They may sleep for very long intervals and eat less amounts of food, before they start hibernating. They ensure that their stomach is empty, before hibernation. If the stomach retains food, it may rot, as digestion will not take place during this time. So, contact a vet to make sure that the lizard is hibernating and is not having a health problem.
- These lizards must be handled only after they get fully tamed. Even tamed frilled dragons may sometimes inflict painful bites, if handled. As far as breeding is concerned, only sexually mature female and male members must be kept together. Mating before that stage may cause health problems.
It is always better to gain a thorough knowledge about these lizards, before you bring one to your home as a pet. Even a license may be required for this purpose. You may contact a vet for knowing more about frilled dragons. Even the breeder can help you in knowing more about these lizards.