Expert reptile advice and information

Frilled Lizard Care

Here you will find everything you need to know about caring for your frilled lizard. Expert information on setting up your vivarium, lighting, heating and feeding. Click on the content links below to get to your desired information.

Frilled Lizard Vivarium Set Up

Frilled Lizards are arboreal which means they spend most of their time climbing in trees; as such they need lots of height in their vivarium and only a little floor space.

When buying a vivarium you should also consider how to decorate it. You can decorate a frilled lizard vivarium with many different items, whether you make a fake rock background, add branches, vines, rocks or plants.

When using real plants, branches or vines ensure these will not be dangerous for your frilled lizard. Some plants are toxic so cannot be used in the vivarium and branches found outside would need to be treated before being introduced to the vivarium.

The ideal vivarium size for frilled dragon is 36" w x 48" h x 24" d, this will give your frilled lizard plenty of space to grow. Be aware that if you start them in a smaller vivarium you will be upgrading them within the year as they grow large very quickly.

Thinking of housing two frillies together?

As with other some other reptiles it is advised you house frilled lizard's alone, unless you have the space to separate them later on down the line.

If you do house these lizards together be aware that if you have a male and female they may breed and have lots of babies.

If you have two males they will fight which may lead to wounds, missing toes, tips of tails and even death.

It is easier to house two females together, although with any pairing you may have a more dominant frilled lizard which could lead to loss of appetite for the smaller one and again it could get physically injured.

If you still wish to house two together make sure the enclosure is large and there are multiple basking spots. Ensure that you monitor that both frillies are feeding well and realise when you need to separate the frilled lizards permanently before either get hurt - there are many cases where keeping two frilled lizards together works and many where it has not - it all depends on temperament.

Frilled Lizard Lighting

Frilled lizards require both UVA and UVB light, UVA light will come from the spotlight which also used to heat your vivarium.

Frilled lizards require light and heat between 10 and 12 hours every day - lighting and heating can be set to come on at the same time

Both UVA and UVB lights are essential for your frilled lizard, the UVB light will allow your frilled lizard to produce vitamin D3 which gives them stronger bones and prevents other ailments such as Metabolic Bone Disease.

To provide a UVB source for your frilled lizard you can use a UVB fluorescent tube. These UVB tubes are rated and for a frilled lizard you need a 10% or 12% fluorescent tube.

There are two main types of fluorescent tube, one of T5 fitment, and one T8 fitment.

The main difference visibly is in the size of the tube, the older arcadia T8 tube is: 1" (2.5cm) in diameter where as the equivalent T5 tube is: 5/8" (1.6cm) in diameter.

The output of each bulb are completely different, the T5 is twice as bright as the equivalent T8 D3+ lamp and the T5 also produces 95% more UVB which is certainly better for your frilled lizard.

Frilled Lizard Heating

Heating your vivarium is vital for a frilled lizard to thermoregulate themselves naturally, having the top of the vivarium hot and a the lower end cool allows your lizard to control their body temperature.

Frilled lizards require a basking area near to the top of their enclosure as they will naturally climb up high to be nearer bright light and heat. To provide heat and bright light you can use a clear spot light bulb. This will produce a bright white light and lot of heat in a focused beam. When setting up your vivarium ensure you do not place this is not too close to where your frilled lizard will be basking, or you will risk burning him.

Basking spot temperature - between 37.5 degrees Celsius (100F) and 43.5 degrees Celsius (110 F)

Lower vivarium temperature - between 23.5 degrees Celsius (75F) and 26.5 degrees Celsius (80 F)

To achieve these day time temperatures you will need a thermostat, with this you measure the temperature at the lower end of the vivarium, ensure it is between 20.5 C and 26.5 C. Then you can move your spotlight/basking lamp or your decorations closer spot to each other to obtain the correct basking temperature your frilled lizard.

Night time temperature - between 23.5 degrees Celsius (75F) and 26.5 degrees Celsius (80 F)

During the night, if the temperature drops below around 23.5 C, you should provide and alternative source of heat for your frilled lizard. You can do this easily with a ceramic heater and thermostat, the ceramic heater will produce no light and the thermostat ensures the temperature is correct.

Frilled Lizard Substrate

There are many different substrates available to user for a frilled lizard, ideally you want something that helps retain the humidity in the vivarium.

Using a mixture of child's play sand and soil around 2 or 3 inches high along the bottom of your vivarium works well. It is cheap and easy to replace, and when spot cleaning you can remove and replace the sand/soil mixture easily. With a juvenile frilled lizard you can use newspaper to ensure they don't ingest and substrate during feeding and it is also easy to clean out regularly.

Frilled Lizard Feeding and Supplements

Frilled lizards are insectivores and eat consistently one type of food – insects. Crickets are extremely nutritious, although hoppers, meal worms and super worms should be considered a staple insects for a frilled lizard.

Some frilled lizards take to vegetables as well which are packed with nutrients and give them a more varied diet, so when feeding your frilled lizard try and feed them salad and vegetables daily. You can feed them collard greens, dandelion greens, turnip greens, red or green leaf lettuce (iceberg lettuce is not as nutritious). You can also offer them vegetables such as squash, carrots, sweet potatoes and peas. When feeding vegetables and greens do not be put off if your frilled lizard doesn't touch them, it may take time for a frilled lizard to take to greens.

Important tip! Whatever insect you choose to feed your frilled lizard, it must be no larger than the space between his eyes. Ignoring this may cause issues with their food digestion and could lead to impaction or paralysis of the back legs.

Feeding Young Frilled Lizards

Otherwise known as juveniles, their feeding can be very expensive as they need to consistently be given live food two twice a day. At each feed, allow them to eat as much as they can manage within 5 to 10 minutes. If they look satisfied and cannot manage the rest of the live food, remove these from the enclosure.

Important tip! When feeding live food to your juvenile frilled lizard remember to dust the food with a quality calcium powder 6 days a week and a multivitamin power for the remaining day!

When your lizard is older and has put on some weight you can move onto feeding them live food once per day.

Feeding Adult Frilled Lizards

As your frilled lizard grows older you will find they generally eat less live food. You should be feeding your lizard gut loaded live insects twice per week, again as much as they want to eat in 5 to 10 minutes.

Important tip! When feeding live food to your adult frilled lizard remember to dust the food with a multivitamin powder one day a week and with a quality calcium powder 2 or 3 days a week!

GUTLOADING: To ensure you are caring properly for your frilled lizard, you should 'gutload' all your live food. This is where you feed the insects vegetables/salad, thus allowing your lizard to gain these nutrients from the live food as well as from the vegetables.

Important tip! Remove all live food from the enclosure when not feeding, especially during the evening and overnight to prevent your frilled dragon being nibbled!

Frilled Lizard Humidity and Water

Humidity in the vivarium is important as in the wild frilled lizards live in a humid environment. It should be kept at about 50 - 70% humidity, you should achieve this by misting the vivarium at least once a day which will ensure your frilled dragon stays well hydrated.

To assist in hydrating your frilled dragon you can leave a shallow bowl of water at the base of the vivarium; to keep the water hygienic and fresh ensure you clean the bowl and replace the water daily.

Frilled Lizard Maintenance

Daily spot checking and removal of faeces should be carried out so the vivarium is hygienic for the frilled lizard. The substrate should be replaced monthly and the vivarium disinfected with a reptile safe anti bacterial spray.

Frilled Lizard Handling

Most frilled lizards are not comfortable with being handled. You will find they are more comfortable in their own enclosure although when you bring them out into a large space they can get stressed. If your frilled dragon extends all of his frills this is a show of defence and you will be stressing him out.