If Disney's The Rescuers Down Under taught us anything about frill-necked lizards, it's that they have a flair for the dramatic. And that seems to be true even outside of the Disney universe:


This reptilian offensive was filmed by Aussie teen Ricky Mackenzie. According to Storyful, who shared the video to their YouTube chanel, Mackenzie was out exploring Western Australia’s Kimberley region when he came across the frill-necked fighter on a dirt road.

"I see a lot of frillies," he says. "I didn’t want this one to get run over. I tried to help but he didn’t want a bar of it."

Frill-necked lizards are named for – no surprise here – the frilled skin around their necks, which is typically held flush and hidden. The multi-purpose accessory is deployed in times of distress to intimidate enemies, and as you can see in the video, it comes in handy when you spot an intruder on your home turf. The frill is also used in courtship rituals (because nothing says I love you like an elaborate ruff and some frantic running around).

And this pursuit didn't stop on the ground. The renegade reptile had enough ferocity stored up to propel it straight up the leg of its would-be rescuer. “It climbed right up my body," says Mackenzie. "I had to pull it off and it then ran away.” 

This is a great reminder that sometimes, noble as the intention may be, helping wildlife on your own can be problematic. 

Frillies spend most of their time in the trees, and can grow to an impressive three feet (one metre) in length. Mackenzie wasn't in any real danger here, but these lizards can give a good nip. Though they're known for their impressive running, they spend most of their time in the trees, feeding on ants, spiders, cicadas, termites, and even small mammals and reptiles. 


Top header image: Joachim S. Müller, Flickr