Ultimate Frilled Dragon Care Guide for Beginners

Have you ever thought about having a miniature dragon at your home? Well, if you want to have a pet dragon for yourself, although small, there are many available choices for you!

Undoubtedly, one of the most eccentric marvels in nature is the rangy retreat of an Australian frilled lizard.

The frilled dragon also known as frilled agama, frill-necked lizard, and frilled lizard, is one of the most exotic pets to have.

The unpredictable behavior, flamboyant ruffle, reptilian nature, and formidable adorability is what makes this one of its kind creatures, a must-have in your house.

Skim through this article to find everything you want to know about this exotic pet. 

What are Frilled Dragons?

What Are Frilled Dragons?
What Are Frilled Dragons?

The frilled dragons are one of the most hard-to-find pets in the wildlands of Australia due to their extreme camouflaging appearance.

They conceal their existence through their camouflaging appearance on the branches of trees.

Being arboreal, the frilled dragons spend most of their time on trees. They are one of the members of the Agamidae reptilian family. 

As the name suggests, frilled dragons have a frill around their necks which most often stays folded against the dragon’s body.

Although being usually carnivorous, frilled dragons tend to occasionally eat plants as well. 

Akin to bearded dragons, frilled dragons use their colorful ruffle; frill to display signs of aggression, discouraging predators, and demonstrate chutzpah during courtship. Frightened frilled dragons exhibit a startling display consisting of mouth gaping, an exhibition of bright colors, and unfolding their frills. 

Due to a lack of defenses, frilled dragons use their behavior to startle their predators and distract them. Their cunningness and agility, depicted through their behavior, is what attracts most of the pet owners. 

Fun Facts

  • When unfurled, the frill can be a foot wide,
  • When they run, they look like a moving bicycle,
  • In 1966, the Australian currency featured frilled dragons,
  • Shreds of evidence indicate that frilled dragons are direct descendants of the dinosaurs,
  • The flamboyant frills may also be used for the regulation of body temperatures,
  • You can watch the gigantic version of Frilled Dragons in the 1993 Jurassic Park.

Frilled Dragon Prices

How Much Does A Frilled Dragon Cost?

The price of a frilled dragon depends on its age and size. Although our fearsome friends come in a variety of colors, there is only one existing species of frilled dragons. 

The prices of frilled dragons range from $200 to $350. If you go for a hatchling it will cost around $200-$250, whereas a baby dragon will cost around $300-$350.

What Will Be the Cost of a Terrarium?

The costs of habitation for frilled dragons depend upon the size of the terrarium and the variety of elements to imitate their original habitats.

Following are the lists of items you can use to build a perfect terrarium for your dragon:

  • A 20-gallon vertically oriented cage ($150-$200)
  • Tree Branches 
  • Barks ($20)
  • Thermometers to maintain the heat gradients ($40-$50)
  • Broad-spectrum heat bulbs ($10-$15) 
  • Substrate ($10-$30)

What Will Be the Feeding Costs?

Frilled Dragons are omnivorous and will eat diverse foods. Their primary diet consists of insects and animal-based foods, though they occasionally eat plant-based foods too. 

Gut-loaded crickets, super worms, butter worms, silkworms, wax worms, roaches, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, carrots, split peas, green beans, etc. are good sources of nutrition for your dragon.

An adult frilled dragon can be fed up to 20 insects per day. Unlike bearded dragons, frilled dragons do not overeat, so you can leave up to them how much they want to eat.

Below is a list of foods that you can feed along with their average prices:

  • Crickets $35.99 (500)
  • Vita Crickets $37.99 (500)
  • Dubia Roaches $13.49 (500)
  • Green Banana Roaches (500)
  • Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches $49.99 (500)
  • Hornworms $69.99 (100)
  • Mealworms $19.99 (100)
  • Giant Mealworms $29.99 (100)
  • Superworms $29.99 (100)
  • Waxworms $22.99 (100)
  • Reptiworms $12.99 (100)
  • Silkworms $24.99 (100)
  • Praying Mantis $39.99 (100)
  • Earthworms $29.99 (100)
  • Bottle Fly Larvae $24.99 (100)
  • Goldfish $59.99 for a dozen (100)
  • Blackworms $79.99 for thousands of worms 
  • Ants $18.99 (100)
  • Nightcrawlers $14.99 (100)

These are some prices for buying feeds for your frilled dragons. However, prices vary according to feed sizes, quality, quantity, and seller preferences.

Other than that, vitamins and supplements usually cost around $5 – $10 that lasts a month or two.

Medical Costs

Frilled dragons are prone to several illnesses and diseases if they don’t receive proper care and nourishment. Imbalances in diet, unsuitable habitats, and lack of daily sun exposure are the main causes of several illnesses and diseases. 

To spend quality time with your companion dragon, you have to place his health as the top priority. That’s why you have to make sure to pay routine visits to your nearest vet.

An office visit to a vet can range anywhere between $20-$150. Apart from that, the costs of treatments, medications, and tests vary.

Where Can I Buy A Frilled Dragon?

Well, now after getting to know the distinctive characteristics and exclusive behavior of this exotic pet, everyone would want to buy one.

Don’t worry we have got you covered!

Frilled Dragons are found in the wildlands and savannas of Australia. But unfortunately, not everyone can pay a visit to Australia. 

However, you can visit your nearest pet store (one that is renowned for keeping exotic pets) and find a frilled dragon for yourself. Other than that, some various online stores and websites sell frilled dragons and deliver to the majority of countries.

We have listed some places where you can get a frilled dragon for yourself:

Pet Stores

Visiting a pet store is the easiest and accessible option. If you have a nearby pet store that sells exotic reptiles, then you should pay a visit to it.

However, you should consider the Pros and Cons of buying from a Pet Store:

Pros

  • You don’t have to spend time researching,
  • You can directly get a reptile license,
  • No need to pay the shipping charges
  • The easiest and quickest way to give a last-minute gift.

Cons

  • Some pet stores sell pets pricier than breeders, due to the overhead costs,
  • Due to a variety of animal species, the staff of pet stores is equipped with low and minimal knowledge for the husbandry and care of specific animals,
  • Although buying a pet is convenient from pet stores, but still, you have to lug your pet to your doorstep.

Breeders

Apart from getting unique and exclusive color blends, the major benefit of buying from a breeder is the tamed and disciplined nature of the frilled dragon. Similarly, breeders have groups of specific species that provide a healthy environment to individual pets. 

Buying a frilled dragon from a breeder is best if you want a healthy and tamed dragon for yourself.

Pros

  • Exclusive appearance and color combinations,
  • Tamed and disciplined behavior,
  • Probably healthier than a pet store frilled dragon.

Cons

  • You have to spend time finding a good breeder,
  • You have to separately apply for a reptile license,
  • Individual breeders may scam you,
  • Not the easiest way to get a frilled dragon.

You can find thousands of breeders on social media websites and other platforms. Therefore, you should know that the best way to find good dragons is through reptile communities.

Online Stores

When it comes to convenience, online stores are the best. You just have to click some buttons and you will have your pet at your doorstep. However, you should properly check the authority of the online store and look for its credibility.

Pros

  • Doorstep delivery
  • Save on Gas and Mileage
  • Cost-effective
  • Convenient
  • Availability of variety
  • Gifting (you can surprise your loved ones with a dragon gift)

Cons

  • Less credibility and authority
  • Chance of being scammed
  • Shipping problems and delays

Cash on delivery is the best way to avoid getting scammed by dishonorable online stores.

Reptile Rescues

Undoubtedly, the act of rescuing a reptile or any animal is from a philanthropic origin. One who rescues a stranded animal needy of a home is surely doing good. 

Every day, hundreds of animals are rescued and sheltered. Sometimes they are strayed, unwanted, neglected, or abused by their previous owners. Whatever the condition, every animal deserves a loving forever home. 

Adopting a pet is without any doubt better than buying a new one. But everyone has their preferences. Find out below more about the pros and cons of reptile rescues.

Pros

  • Rescuing is a part of philanthropy,
  • Most pets are already tamed and disciplined,
  • Cheaper than buying a new one.

Cons

  • You may have your own preferences, but instead, fall in love with someone new,
  • Your rescue application may not always be accepted.

How to Build A Home for Your Frilled Dragon?

build better home for better Frilled Dragon care
build better home for better Frilled Dragon care

While creating a home for your dragon, you must consider his/her original habitat. Replicating the ambiance, features, and elements of nature will ensure the health and wellbeing of your dragon.

Gather all the tools and materials needed

  1. Cage/Aquarium
  2. Locking Screen Top
  3. Basking Light 
  4. UV Light 
  5. Heat Mat
  6. Substrate
  7. Hiding Areas
  8. Other Decorations (Optional)
  9. Water Dish
  10. Scooper
  11. Thermometer(s)
  12. Hygrometer(s)

Note: You can find these tools and materials in your nearest pet store or any online store.

Set up the terrarium

Get a 20-gallon vertically oriented vivarium. Make sure to buy a bigger place for your dragon buddy, to imitate their natural habitat as much as you can.

If you have bought a ready-made vivarium then you don’t have to worry about assembling it. And if you haven’t, then you can follow the manual instructions and assemble the vivarium on your own.

Note: Young dragons can be kept in Exo terra (24″ x 18″ x 36″). Whereas adult dragons should be kept in Exo Terra large xtall (36″ x 18″ x 36″)

Create the perfect environment

Heating

In the Australian wildlands and savannas, frilled dragons bask for a long time. Their bodies bask in approx. 100f during the day. Basking regulates their temperature and nourishes them with Vitamin D and calcium absorption.

To set up a perfectly nature-imitating artificial environment, attach a broad-spectrum heat bulb on the ceiling of the vivarium. Attach a thermometer alongside to maintain the optimum temperature. You can leave the heat lamp on for up to 12 hours a day.

For night time, ceramic heat bulbs are used to avoid any light and provide the optimum temperature. Most importantly, you should never forget to attach a thermostat, as ceramic heat bulbs are harmful.

Note: The temperature at daytime should be between 85-90f, while at night it should be 75-80f.

Humidity

Along with optimum temperatures, frilled dragons require the optimum humidity too. You should bed substrate that holds moisture and maintains optimum levels of humidity.

To regulate humidity, you can use a humidity gauge as well, depending upon your budget.

Note: if you live in a very dry area, then you should install hand misters or reptile fountains to raise the humidity levels.

Decoration

To ensure the happiness and mood of your companion, you should reflect their native habitats in their terrarium. As mentioned previously, frilled dragons are arboreal and spend most of their time on trees.

That’s why you should decorate the terrarium with both vertically and horizontally oriented barks. This will allow your dragons to climb up on them and stay active during the day. Other than that, you can imitate their native habitats with a variety of plants, mushrooms, stones, and substrate.

Diet of a frilled dragon

When it comes to food, frilled dragons are heavy eaters, especially during their infancy. Frilled dragons aren’t overeaters so you can let them eat as much as they want to. 

A list of foods that can be fed to frilled dragons is given below:

  • Crickets
  • Vita Crickets 
  • Dubia Roaches 
  • Green Banana Roaches
  • Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches
  • Hornworms 
  • Mealworms
  • Giant Mealworms 
  • Superworms 
  • Waxworms 
  • Reptiworms 
  • Silkworms 
  • Praying Mantis 
  • Earthworms 
  • Bottle Fly Larvae 
  • Goldfish 
  • Blackworms 
  • Ants 
  • Nightcrawlers 

Apart from the above-mentioned foods, you can feed pinkies and vegetables to your frilled dragons. However, you should consider grinding them finely to help them digest and reduce the chances of impaction.

An adult frilled dragon can be fed up to 20 insects per day. Unlike bearded dragons, frilled dragons do not overeat, so you can leave up to them how much they want to eat.

These pets should be fed once a day or every two days. Female lizards need more food so they should be fed daily with vitamin D3 supplement in every feeding.

Note: You should make certain that the food is cleaned and dusted with calcium and vitamin supplements. 

Fatal Foods for Frilled Dragons

Fireflies and Wild Insects should never be fed to frilled dragons. Fireflies can instantly kill your frilled dragons as they are known to be highly toxic for frilled dragons as well as other reptiles.

According to the Animal Poison Control Center (ASPCA) “It takes only half of a firefly to kill a fully grown frilled dragon”. If your frilled dragon eats a firefly, he/she will die within 2 hours.

Similarly, you should never feed wild insects to frilled dragons, as they usually contain parasites. Though wild insects aren’t as fatal to frilled dragons as fireflies, you should avoid them too.

Apart from that, you should avoid fish, live insects, and non-whole foods that can carry pesticides or disrupt the digestive system of your dragon buddies.

Shedding


In order to ease up things a bit, you need to make sure that your dragon is hydrated properly. Doing so, ensures the well-being of your dragon and especially, helps him shed his skin conveniently.

If it does not, make certain that the terrarium is humidified and soak your lizard in a lukewarm bath. You should also bed substrate that holds moisture and maintains optimum levels of humidity. To regulate humidity, you can use a humidity gauge as well, depending upon your budget.

Note: if you live in a very dry area, then you should install hand misters or reptile fountains to raise the humidity levels.

Bathing

Frilled dragons, as with most reptiles, require a hygienic environment to grow well. A routine spot-clean on a day-to-day basis and a full-wash within 3-5 weeks. If you are holding the dragon in a bio-active terrarium, you can spot-clean and maintain the terrarium. Changing out the bedding a few times per year would help quite a bit.

Rocks and pebbles in your dragon’s enclosure can aid in trimming down its nails. However, if they are overgrown, you can always visit the nearest vet.

Brumation

Prior to breeding, frilled dragons need a hibernation period of 2-3 months. After hibernation periods, frilled dragons tend to display signs of aggression and indicate the commencement of their courtship period. 

To stimulate breeding desire, male dragons should be kept close to each. A vast ground area should be arranged within the terrarium for courtship and breeding.

Note: The hibernation period of frilled dragons is usually from August to September

Cleaning the Habitat

When cleaning the habitat, you should extract your dragon, adornments and bedding. Shower the terrarium with a reptile amicable disinfectant. These typically work rapidly and just should be left for around 30 seconds, guidelines can ordinarily be found on the disinfectants bundling. 

Decorative items should be cleaned in a comparative technique. Essentially, you should splash them down with the disinfectant and flush completely with water, prior to getting them dry and returning them to the terrarium. 

Health Care and Well Being 

Gastric Cryptosporidiosis, metabolic bone diseases, and calcium malabsorption are some fatal illnesses that should be prevented at any cost. To inhibit the spread of any infections, frilled dragons should be exposed to heat and humidity. You can use broad-spectrum heat bulbs and substrates to create artificial sources of heat and humidity.

Symptoms of respiratory infections range from wheezing, excessive phlegm around nasal passages, and breathing with a gaped mouth. Other symptoms of metabolic bone diseases due to inadequate exposure to ultraviolet light are when your dragon refrains from eating anything, shows signs of lethargy, and bad posture.

You should keep in mind that if your dragon refrains from eating food, then it indicates an abdominal problem. On the other hand, if your dragon faces difficulty in shedding its skin, then it’s probably a skin problem.

In any case, you should hurry up for a visit to your nearest vet. Other than that, monthly routine checkups are a must for every pet owner. 

Frilled Dragon FAQs

Is Frilled Dragon Your Great Pet?

Due to a lack of defenses, frilled dragons use their behavior to startle their predators and distract them. Their cunningness and agility, depicted through their behavior, is what attracts most of the pet owners. 

So, Hurry up! And get your own frilled companion!

How to Choose Right Species for Me?

There are over 420 frilled dragon species. Other than blends of different colors, these species tend to have no differences amongst them.

Therefore, choosing the right species for yourself, depends upon your taste of colors and patterns.

Frilled Dragon Health Checklist Before Buying

Following things should be ensured whilst buying a frilled dragon:

No signs of

  • Impaction
  • Diarrhea
  • Bone diseases
  • Lethargy
  • Bad posture
  • Difficulty in shedding skin
  • Abnormal diet
  • Excessive phlegm around nasal passages

Bonus: Learn How to Train Your Dragon

Training your dragon buddy sounds like training an original dragon, just like the ones featured in the movie “how to train your dragon”. Everyone wants their pets to be trained and obey them eventually.

To do so, firstly you will have to make sure that your dragon buddy can watch you. Working around your dragon buddy will make them get used to you and eventually habituate them to your existence around them. 

You should also try talking to them while feeding them. Doing so will create a bond between him and you. Similarly, frilled dragons are highly behavioral and foody. They remember their benefactors, especially the ones who feed them.

Talking with them whilst feeding them is the best way to communicate and create an attachment. Once your dragon buddy starts trusting you, they will come to you whenever you show food to them. Gradually, you might experience your dragon jump towards you and reach you!

This is when you have to interact the most with your buddy. Leave him on your arm, gently massage them on their backside, and gain their confidence. Gradually, you will see your dragon running towards you whenever they see you.

The process of taming may take a while, so you don’t have to worry about it! Getting a dragon from a breeder will hasten the process of taming, as they are already tamed and disciplined. 

“Tamed and disciplined dragon buddies are the source of utmost satisfaction and joy.”

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