The friars lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii) is a unique species of Agamidae lizards, which attracts attention with its unusual appearance.
This species lives in the northwest and northeast of Australia, as well as in the southern part of New Guinea. The fiery lizard gained incredible popularity in Japan in the 1980s, later became the symbol of Australia, as well as the kangaroo and koala.
Such a glory to this animal brought a popular advertising car on television. The lizard also appears on an Australian 2 cent coin, which was once sold in Japan, while it was at its peak of popularity (in 1989).
Description and features of a fringed lizard
Chlamydosaurus kingii is one of the most famous and characteristic dragons in Australia. This large lizard reaches an average of 85 cm in length. The animal has rather long limbs and a moderately long tail.
The most common color is gray-brown. The tail is striped with a dark gray tip. The tongue and contour of the oral cavity is pink or yellow. The upper and lower jaws are full of small, sharp teeth, including 2 front teeth (canines), which are usually longer than the rest.
But the most distinctive feature of the Australian fiery lizards is its collar (called Elizavetensky in its homeland), which it straightens in case of impending danger.
The agama scaled collar uses to scare the enemy, in the process of grooming a female and to protect his territory from other males. After performing defensive maneuvers, they usually climb onto treetops, where, using their light green or light brown color, they are perfectly masked. An open bright collar, a fringed lizard, scares its enemies and attracts the attention of the opposite sex.
This skin fold in the lizard’s neck in anxiety can reach 26 cm in diameter and may have a different color (motley, orange, red and brown). At rest, the collar is not visible on the body of the agama. Another distinctive feature of lizards is their massive, muscular hind limbs.
The front and hind legs are equipped with sharp claws, the legs have enormous strength, which lizards need for climbing trees. Mature and healthy individuals weigh about 800 grams of males and 400 grams of females.
Lifestyle and habitat of the fringed lizard
The fiery lizard lives in sub-humid (arid) and semi-arid regions, most often in grass or dry forests. Agamas are arboreal animals, so they spend most of their life on the trunks and branches of trees.
Thanks to its excellent disguise, lizards can be noticed only when they fall to the ground after rains or in search of food. The dragon-shaped dragon is a diurnal animal that sits in the trees most of the time.
They undergo seasonal changes in terms of diet, growth, habitat use and activity. The dry season is characterized by a decrease in the activity of the flesh-bearing lizards, while the wet season is the opposite. These individuals are very famous for their “upright walking”.
In case of danger, they quickly rush on two paws to the nearest tree, but, as an alternative, they can take shelter under low vegetation or switch to “freezing” mode.
If a lizard is cornered, it usually turns its face to the enemy and launches its protective mechanism, thanks to which the agamas are famous. They stand on their hind legs, begin to hiss loudly and dismiss the collar. If the bluff does not work, as a rule, the lizard runs up the nearest tree.
Flesh Lizard Feeding
The fierce lizards are insectivores and feed mainly on small invertebrates (larvae of butterflies, beetles, small midges), but, as is known, do not squeamish on small mammals and pieces of meat. The frilled lizard can move well on its hind legs.
The most delicious delicacy for them are green ants. In captivity of an agama eat the most widespread insects: cockroaches, locusts, crickets, worms, small feeding mice.
Reproduction and life expectancy of a fiery lizard
In the wild, mating usually occurs between September and October, when males attract females with a collar, which they gracefully straighten to attract «female» attention. The female lays eggs in the rainy season (from November to February), as a rule, it is 8-23 eggs. They have them in the recesses of 5-20 cm under the ground in sunny areas.
The incubation period takes about 2-3 months, and the sex of the small lizards depends on the temperature, and in extremely hot conditions females are most often born, and at a temperature of 29-35 degrees, males and females have the same chance of being born.
Crested lizards live on average 10 years. Previously, the acquisition of agama was considered a real happiness for fans of reptiles. To date, buy a fringed lizard is not a problem.
They are freely sold in pet stores. To keep lizards at home, you need to buy a terrarium at least 200 x 100 x 200 cm. The larger the terrarium, the better.
Sprinkle the bottom abundantly with sand, on the back wall build a stone escarpment that the agama will use for climbing. Horizontally and vertically placed branches spread out in such a way that the lizard could freely jump from branch to branch.
The «roof» will serve several large diameter cork pipes. It is very important to place in the terrarium a few artificial plants and stones, about which the lizards can sharpen their claws.
Crested lizards need high-quality lighting and round-the-clock access to UV lamps. The daily temperature should be within 30 degrees. At night, the desired temperature should be 20-22 degrees. Within two to three months it is advisable to reduce the temperature to 18-20 degrees.
Agamas do not survive very well in captivity. It is desirable to create the best conditions for decent keeping of lizards outside their habitat. In conditions of captivity, they rarely show their open collar, so they are not the best and most interesting exhibit for the zoo. These animals are best observed in their natural habitat.