Green Basilisk Lizard

Basiliscus plumifrons     Corytophanidae

Distribution: Central and South America.

Habitat: Arboreal and semi-aquatic; inhabit the trees and bushes of the rainforest, often along riverbanks.

Appearance: Length, including tail, can be up to 85 cm.  Adult color is bright green, or slightly blue-green. Males have distinctive, high crests on their heads and backs, which they use to impress females. The females have only one small crest.

Diet: Omnivores, surviving on a diet of plant material, insects, fruit, and small vertebrates.

Remarks: Green basilisk lizard has been called the “Jesus Christ” lizard, because of its ability to walk on water. Their rear feet have long toes with fringes of skin that unfurl in the water, increasing surface area. They rapidly move their legs as they slap their splayed feet hard against the water. This creates tiny air pockets that keep them from sinking, provided they keep running fast enough. They can move more. When gravity eventually takes over, the basilisk is an excellent swimmer.