Top 10 Plumed Basilisk Facts – The lizard that can walk on water?

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Quick Facts

Scientific Name:Basiliscus plumifrons

Common Names: Green basilisk, plumed basilisk, double crested basilisk, and Jesus Christ lizard

Geographic Range: Eastern Honduras to western Panama, as well as the Pacific versant in southwestern Costa Rica and adjacent Panama

Life Span: 10 years

Conservation Status: Least concern

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Top 10 List

1. Bright Colouring

Adult Plumed Basilisks are a beautiful bright green, with bright yellow eyes. They have light blue-ish or sometimes yellow dots that run down the sides of their bodies. Males have three crests which include the one on their head, one on their back, and one on their tail. Females just have one: the head crest. Young Plumed Basilisks are less brightly coloured, and lack the characteristic crests.

2. Basiliscus

The plumed basilisk’s Genus: Basiliscus was taken from a legendary reptilian creature of European mythology which could turn a man to stone by its gaze: the Basilisk. Furthermore, their name was also derived from the Greek word “basiliskos,” meaning “little king,” in reference to the animal’s crownlike head adornment

3. Walking on Water

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Plumed basilisks, along with other basilisks, are able to use their feet and tail to run short distances on top of the water. Their back toes are lined with small, downward facing scales. These scales increase the surface area of the toe against the water, and it is because of these toe scales that they are able to “walk” on water. Among locals, this unique ability of the plumed basilisk has earned the lizard the nickname the “Jesus Christ Lizard”.

4. Excellent Swimmer

In addition to the fact that plumed basilisk lizards can walk across the top of the water, they are also pretty skilled under the water too. Basilisks are awesome swimmers, and are able to stay underneath the water for up to 30 minutes at a time.

5. Great Climbers

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Plumed Basilisks are very agile lizards. They are born with long toes that end in razor-sharp nails. These nails allow them to quickly climb trees and escape from predators that may be pursuing them.

6. Long Long Tail!

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Plumed Basilisks are a moderately sized lizard. They can grow up to 3 feet total in length, and often up to 2/3 of that length will be their tail alone! Plumed basilisks have an average snout-to-vent length of 10 inches, which is how long they are not including their tail.

7.  Omnivores

Plumed Basilisks are omnivores, which means they have quite a varied diet. These basilisks eat the insects, small mammals, smaller species of lizards, fruits and even flowers that are found in their natural habitat.

8. Where They Live

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Plumed Basilisks are most common along the large waterways and inlets that are found in their home lands. These waterways are surrounded by lush, dense forests. This is where the largest amount of plumed basilisks are found.

Although Plumed Basilisks are sometimes found as high up as 50 feet in the trees, these basilisks typically hang out in the exposed lower canopy near the water. They may do this for hunting purposes or to escape approaching danger.

9. Baby Plumed Basilisks

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Adult female plumed basilisk lay five to fifteen eggs at a time. Their preferred area to lay them is in warm, damp sand or soil. Eight to ten weeks later the eggs hatch and the babies emerge as fully independent lizards.

10. Temperamental Lizards

Male plumed basilisks are very territorial and become aggressive towards things they see as a threat. A single male basilisk may keep land containing a large group of female basilisk with whom he mates.

Most plumed basilisks (especially wild-caught) are very skittish. Because of the Plumed Basilisks’ aggressive and territorial nature, when kept in captivity many of them (although not all) do not tolerate or enjoy handling.

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