No menu items!


HomeNewsCosta RicaCosta Rica Wildlife Pic of the Day: This lizard can run on...

Costa Rica Wildlife Pic of the Day: This lizard can run on water

The green basilisk lizard, scientifically known as Basiliscus plumifrons, is a captivating reptile that never fails to leave observers in awe. Its vibrant green coloration and unique abilities make it a truly remarkable species. Found in the rainforests of Central America, including regions of Costa Rica, the green basilisk is often referred to as the plumed basilisk or green crested basilisk due to the distinctive crest that runs along its back.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the green basilisk is its incredible ability to run on water. This remarkable skill has earned it the nickname “Jesus Christ lizard.” When startled or threatened, the lizard can make a hasty retreat across bodies of water by sprinting across the surface, seemingly defying the laws of physics. This feat is made possible by its long toes and specialized hind feet. The toes have a series of fringes that increase the surface area when they strike the water, creating buoyancy and allowing the lizard to stay afloat.

The green basilisk’s vibrant green color serves as excellent camouflage within the dense rainforest foliage. This adaptation helps it blend seamlessly into its surroundings, making it difficult for predators to spot. Additionally, the crested structure along its back adds to its striking appearance and may also play a role in communication and territorial displays.

When it comes to diet, the green basilisk is an opportunistic omnivore. Its menu includes a wide variety of food sources, such as insects, fruits, flowers, and even small vertebrates. This adaptability in diet allows the lizard to thrive in its diverse rainforest habitat and take advantage of available resources.

Conservation efforts are crucial to ensure the survival of the green basilisk lizard and its delicate rainforest ecosystem. Deforestation and habitat loss pose significant threats to this species, along with illegal pet trade and pollution. Initiatives aimed at preserving and restoring its natural habitat, as well as raising awareness about the importance of protecting biodiversity, are essential to safeguard the future of this magnificent reptile.

Kristel Segeren / The Tico Times

We’ll let National Geographic take it from here:

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 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 them from sinking, provided they maintain their speed. They can move along the surface like this for 15 feet or more. When gravity eventually does take over, the basilisk resorts to its excellent swimming skills to continue its flight

Weekly Recap

Latest Articles