Frilled dragons—or Chlamydosaurus kingii—are a fascinating animal. They have a frill around their neck that flares when they are threatened or intimidated by other animals.
Are Frilled Dragons Venomous?
Although some reptiles are venomous, frilled dragons themselves are not. Not only are they not venomous, but they are almost entirely harmless to humans. Despite their somewhat frightening displays, a frilled dragon will have a hard time doing any damage to a human.
Native to Australia and southern New Guinea, the lizards have become a popular pet around the world due to their unique appearance and abilities. In fact, the frilled dragon was featured on the 2-cent coin in Australia until 1991.
Let’s look at why they have not adapted to be venomous, and how they hunt instead.
Why Aren’t Frilled Dragons Venomous?
In the wild, frilled dragons rely on their ambushing skills rather than other methods. They kill their prey by sneaking up on it or by lying in wait for the right moment to strike.
Venom is usually found in animals that kill and eat animals that are similar or larger in size than themselves.
Certain snakes for example will bite and poison a larger animal with their venom, then wait for the animal to die as it gets away. The snake will then find and feed on the large animal.
Frilled dragons do not need venom because the prey they eat can be killed by their jaw alone. Because they are up to 3ft long, frilled dragons can eat and swallow small insects whole rather than needing to poison them than feeding.
Their diet is predominantly made up of insects and other small animals that can easily be eaten. In captivity, frilled dragons should be fed crickets, silkworms, and super worms.
Another reason some animals have venom is for defense. The frilled dragon does not need this form of defense because it has the neck frills. When a frilled dragon is frightened or intimidated, it will flare out its neck flaps and hopefully scare off any predators.
Will A Frilled Dragon Bite Me?
Because they are not venomous, a frilled dragon cannot poison you in any way.
Frilled dragons are normally docile animals. They will not normally be aggressive towards humans. However, they are not animals that like to cuddle. Frilled dragons prefer to be on their own in their enclosure rather than on your lap or in your hand.
If a frilled dragon gets annoyed it will flare its frills. This is a telltale sign to leave them alone, as it means they are telling you to back off. If your frilled dragon flares its neck frills at you, try and get them back into their enclosure then let them cool down for a while. Don’t take it personally.
If you have had your frilled dragon since they were young, they may be more tolerable to interact with you. Make sure your frilled dragon doesn’t mind being picked up. You can tell if they are not happy when their behavior changes.
If they begin acting more lethargic than normal, it might be time to give them some personal space for a few days. Frilled dragons can be thought of as introverts, meaning they will not choose long and sustained social interaction over time spent alone.
How To Stop A Frilled Dragon Biting
As long as you keep them happy, frilled dragons are very unlikely to bite you or flare their neck frills at you.
Make sure their enclosure is large enough and that they are at the right temperature to keep them happy.
An enclosure should have a floor space of 3ft x 1.5ft with a height of around 3ft. Because the frilled dragon is a relatively flat lizard, they don’t necessarily need the extra headroom. Adding some branches or structures for them to climb on is ideal.
Make sure there is a basking area with a basking lamp, as well as a cool area or the frilled dragon to go and cool down. This recreates their habitat in the wild in which they warm themselves in direct sunlight then go into the shade to cool down.
Because frilled dragons, like other reptiles, are cold-blooded, they need to bask in hot areas to warm themselves. Without the basking spot, your frilled dragon will become uncomfortable and may be tempted to get violent.
Likewise, not feeding your frilled dragon may result in them turning aggressive. Be sure to feed them every day. Stick to the main food of crickets or types of worms. Some frilled dragons will eat vegetables or fruit but keep this minimal.
In the wild frilled dragons will hunt for insects every day and will only supplement their diet with other foods. Be sure to give them insects to meet their protein needs.
If your frilled dragon gets too hungry it will not be happy and might just turn aggressive, although they can’t poison you, they will not interact with you in a fun way.
If you just can’t resist wanting to pick up and play with your frilled dragon, or you have children that want to interact with it, you will need to train your frilled dragon to get used to this behavior.
Placing their enclosure somewhere that they can easily see humans moving around and interacting with one another will get the frilled dragon used to the sight, smell, and sound of humans.
A small-time spent interacting with the frilled dragon each day will get the frilled dragon used to human interaction. They will then be less scared next time someone comes by and wants to make physical contact.
Frilled dragons each have their own personality. Some may be more accepting of human interaction than others. If yours isn’t getting used to human interaction and always seem upset by it, then you may have to just accept that they aren’t a social butterfly.
Do Frilled Dragons Fight Each Other?
In some cases, frilled dragons may turn violent towards one another. If multiple males are kept in the same enclosure they are likely to fight, especially if females are present. Males will naturally compete for territory and control of the females.
Because they lack venom, frilled dragons will have a hard time doing any damage to each other. Nevertheless, it is important to make sure that your pets aren’t fighting. If in doubt, it is better to have just one frilled dragon, rather than two that could start fighting.
Although some large reptiles are, such as the enormous Komodo dragon …
Frilled dragons are not at all venomous. Although they look like they are dangerous and to be feared, it is all for show. Rather than needing venom in order to eat things, the frilled dragon uses ambush techniques to catch small prey that it can just chomp down on with their jaws.
Their bite is not venomous, and they will rarely use it on humans. As long as you make sure your frilled dragon is comfortable they will not show any aggression towards you. Their neck flaps are the best way to tell if they are not happy.