Green Basilisk

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Species group:

Other common names: Plumed Basilisk; Double-Crested Basilisk; Jesus Christ Lizard; Green Plumed Basilisk; Green Crested Basilisk

Scientific name: Basiliscus plumifrons

The basics:
The Green Basilisk (Plumed Basilisk) is native to Central America, specifically southern Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama. They inhabit trees in tropical rain-forests close to bodies of water.

Appearance / health:
True to their name, Green Basilisks are bright green (sometimes brownish) from head to tail, with bluish white spots and markings. Growing to a little over 2 feet in length, they have granular skin with a helmet (head crest) and double dorsal crests on the back, and a tall flat crest on the base of the tail. Head crests are higher on the male, used for attracting mates. The tail is whip-like. The belly is yellow and the iris is orange. Toes have webbed folds of skin to help the lizard run across water, earning it the moniker, “Jesus Lizard.”

Behavior / temperament:
Green Basilisks earned their “Jesus Lizard” name because they can “walk on water.” When threatened, lizards hiding among foliage close to the water quickly leap onto the surface of the lake or stream and run very briskly over the water to escape. The webbed margins on their toes help keep them afloat. When they run out of steam, they dive into the water and swim or stay underwater for as long as 30 minutes. Basilisks are frisky and show pronounced flight behavior and do not acclimate well to human handling.

Due to their size and natural tendencies to swim and run, Green Basilisks are best kept in large enclosures, preferably at least 50-gallon terrariums. A rain forest type enclosure with sturdy vertical and horizontal branches for climbing and basking is recommended. A large water tank should be provided, along with natural or artificial foliage for hiding or humidity control. Natural plants can be potted tropical plants like philodendron, pothos, and dracaenas. Day temp: 77-86F; night temp: 68-71F; water temp: 77F; basking temp: 104F; humidity: 70-90%; lighting: 12-14 hours, UV radiation required.

Green Basilisks are best kept in pairs or groups with only one male because they are highly territorial. Ideal humidity and temperature must be maintained, and the water dish refreshed daily. The terrarium must also be misted daily. Under optimal care, these lizards can live up to 10 years.

The Green Basilisk is an omnivore, feeding on insects, fruits, leaves, flowers, fruits, and even earthworms, mealworms, and pinkie mouse. Multi-vitamin dusted fruits and insects or gut-loaded crickets are recommended.

Green Basilisks are egg-layers, reaching sexual maturity in about two years. Females seek nests in damp sand, peat, or moss, and lay up to 20 eggs per clutch, with as many as five clutches per season. Eggs hatch after 8-10 weeks.


entertaining reptile, wonderful animal, majestic creature


children, right person, agressive nature, Messy Feeder, sharp nails, habitat requirements


powdered vitamin mixture, decent eaters

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