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Taken 11-Jul-16
Visitors 43
10 of 28 photos

Frilled-neck Lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii)

Undoubtedly, one of the quirkiest sights in nature is the gangly retreat of an Australian frilled lizard. When this unique creature 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 unintimidated 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.

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).

Frilled lizards, or "frillnecks," are members of the dragon family that live in the tropical and warm temperate forests and savanna woodlands of northern Australia. They 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.