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Animals from Latin America: Basilik



Website - Basilik

Animal Town Website


Photograph by Joe McDonald/Animals Animals - Earth Science

National Geographic website:

Basilik Lizard - Also known as the Jesus Christ Lizard


Interesting Facts on the Basilik

Type: Reptile

Diet: Omnivore

Average life span in captivity: Up to 10 years

Size: 2 to 2.5 ft (61 to 76 cm) including the tail

Weight: Up to 7 oz (200 g)

Did you know? Basilisk lizards are excellent swimmers and are capable of remaining underwater for up to 30 minutes.

Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:Illustration: Green basilisk lizard compared with adult man

The green basilisk lizard is also called a plumed or double-crested basilisk; but its amazing ability to run on water gives this species its most recognizable moniker: the Jesus Christ lizard.

Abundant in the tropical rain forests of Central America, from southern Mexico to Panama, green basilisks spend much of their time in the trees and are never far from a body of water. When threatened, they can drop from a tree into the water and sprint, upright, about 5 feet (1.5 meters) per second across the surface.

To accomplish this, they have long toes on their rear feet with fringes of skin that unfurl in the water, increasing surface area. As they rapidly churn their legs, they slap their splayed feet hard against the water, creating a tiny air pocket that keeps from sinking, provided they maintain their speed.

National Geographic Website: