Scientific Name: Basiliscus basiliscus
When running across the surface of the water, the lizards are upright, running on their hind legs. Their tail is used for balance and so, unlike many other lizards, they donít discard their tail when attacked.
The common basilisk is just a little bit miraculous. It is also known by the unusual name of the Jesus Christ lizard, because this lizard can literally walk on water. When fleeing a predator, the lizard often runs on the top of the water near the shoreline for a short distance. It can do this thanks to momentum and its large hind feet. When young, lizards can run 10-20 metres, but as they age and get heavier they can’t go as far without sinking. The lizards grow to 90 centimetres long (this includes a tail of up to 50 cm) and weigh 200-500 grams. They range in colour from brown to olive-brown/green and can be striped with darker colours. The lizard has fin-like rounded crests along the spine, tail and at the back of the head. The crests are more pronounced in the males.
The common basilisk is found in Central and South America, typically in lower elevations. They are found along watercourses, and though they are good swimmers, they’ll only swim when escaping a predator after their ‘walking on water’ trick has finished. They are active during the day, though will often bask in the sun by the water’s edge.
Insects, fish, small birds and snakes and flowers.
Females lay 2-18 eggs a number of times a year in a hole they’ve dug in the ground. After laying, the female covers the eggs with soil, pats the nest down with her head, and leaves. After about three months, the young are born. They are tiny lizards weighing only a few grams each.