Frilled neck lizard

The frilled neck lizard is a protected species in the Northern Territory (NT). 

You should not interfere with this lizard without a permit. Read more about wildlife permits.

The frilled neck lizard belongs to the dragon family and can grow up to 1m in length. Males are a lot larger than females. 

It camouflages well and is known for its stance when frightened. 

It puffs out the skin around its neck and opens its mouth to scare predators away. 

This frill can also help regulate the lizard's body temperature.

Frilled neck lizards run on their two hind legs.


Frilled neck lizards are found throughout the NT generally in savannah woodlands but also in tropical forests and grasslands.

The species will use trees to escape predators and to hunt spiders and insects. 

The rest of their diet is found on the ground and includes spiders, ants, termites, insects and other small lizards.

The carpet python is the frilled neck lizard's one known predator.

Frilled neck's breed from September to October and males fight each other for a female partner. 

They have clutches of up to 23 eggs laid from November to February. 

The gender depends on the temperature. 

Eggs are buried underground in sunny areas with warmer temperatures resulting in more females. 

Once eggs are buried the mother abandons the nest. The young are born up to 12 weeks later to fend for themselves.


Cane toads are a potential threat to frilled neck lizards. If a lizard eats a toad, it is assumed the toxin will kill the lizard. 

Fire practices, accidental or purposefully lit fires, are also a threat to lizards who cannot escape large fires. 

Climate change may be a future threat as temperature is so important to create a balance of female and male lizards. 

As temperatures become hotter there is more likely to be an increase in female lizards.

Last updated: 01 September 2015

Give feedback about this page.

Share this page:

URL copied!