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24th Sep 2009

Business and Retailer Of The Year Finalists

Darren Bridgwood goes back to the age of the dinosaurs.

These stunning lizards have become closely linked with the film Jurassic Park, and interest in them has grown over the years since the film was released. I?ve always been fascinated by these creatures ? they?re my favourite species. Everything about them is captivating, especially their amazing displays, enthuses Darren Bridgwood.

Frilled dragons (Chlamydosaurus kingii) have a wide range, extending from New Guinea south into Australia. Their colouration differs between localities, with those from Australia tending to vary from dark brown to deep red. Individuals from New Guinea, which is the source of captive-farmed individuals, are generally greyer overall, with a darker marbling effect. Growing to about 76 cm (30 in) in terms of their overall length, and having a frill which can be as large as 30 cm (12 in) in diameter when fully extended, these lizards have one of the most remarkable defensive responses in the reptile kingdom.

If a predator approaches, a frilled dragon will quickly shoot open its frill, using special long spines of cartilage, gape open its mouth and lunge menacingly towards the predator. If this fails to deter the attack, the frilled dragon will then retreat quickly using its powerful hind legs, to scamper into a nearby bush or up a tree. Once the dragon is on a tree, it is surprisingly difficult to spot as its colouration and markings help it to blend in remarkably well against the bark.

Diet

These lizards are primarily insectivorous, and mine receive a staple diet consisting mainly of crickets, mealworms and locusts. Waxworms are only offered in limited amounts, because although loved by most lizards, they contain high amounts of fat and therefore should only be fed as a treat ? I recommend a maximum of six per week. Pinkies should be offered twice weekly for adults and once per week for juveniles. Frilled dragons in the wild will eat basically whatever they can find, and they will also consume greens and fruits. Although not all will accept such foods, it is definitely worth trying to persuade them to do so, as these provide essential vitamins and minerals:

Animal Tracks: Business of the Year
Animal Tracks: Business and Retailer of the Year Finalist 2009