Basiliscus – basilisks

The Jesus Christ of the lizards

Native to the lush regions of South and Central America, it is home to a unique group of lizards that have captured the imagination of many due to their remarkable ability to sprint across water. This incredible feat has earned them the moniker ”Jesus Christ lizards,” referencing the biblical story of Jesus walking on water. Their ability to perform this act is due to their feet’ unique structure and incredibly light body mass, which allows them to create sufficient lift and thrust to skitter across the surface before gravity takes over.

Basilisks are predominantly solitary creatures and diurnal, meaning they are active during the daylight hours. This time is spent engaged in various activities, from basking in the sun’s warmth to enhance their metabolism to foraging for food across their terrestrial and aquatic territories. As dusk falls, basilisks retreat to the relative safety of the treetops. Climbing up to 20 meters (65 feet) into the branches, they find refuge where they can rest undisturbed until the break of dawn.

However, the basilisk’s adaptations are not limited to their water-walking prowess. These versatile reptiles can also stay submerged underwater for up to thirty minutes, a defensive strategy that helps them avoid aerial and terrestrial predators. When not darting across water or diving beneath it, basilisks are also proficient climbers, using their sharp claws and muscular limbs to scale trees and navigate through dense foliage.