Species group: Basilisks
Other common names: Plumed Basilisk; Double-Crested Basilisk; Jesus Christ Lizard; Green Plumed Basilisk; Green Crested Basilisk
Scientific name: Basiliscus plumifrons
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
From Kacie Bingham Sep 30 2017 3:07AM
Can be a good pet for the right person.
I currently own a full grown male Plumed Basilisk. I rescued him off craigslist from a gentleman who had taken good care of the lizard, but kept him in a tank that was very small. I think the Basilisk is a wonderful animal to look at, but they do not care to be touched. It is hard to handle mine because he has very sharp nails. Sharper then a Macaw or a Bearded Dragon. Basilisks can and will scratch without trying when held. A lot of information on the web says you can keep them in a 55 gallon, but that is not accurate. They can reach 3 feet in length (most of which is tale) so they need about a 100 gallon tank or more to be happy. They also love water, which means they need high humidity (90%) and a large pool of water with room to swim.
If you a serious about getting a Plumed/Green Basilisk please make sure you can provide the following:
*100+ gallon fish tank
*Large swimming area
*Underwater fish filter for water area (Basilisk like to poop in water so this is greatly needed.)
*A misting system or time to mist at least twice a day
*10-12 Large (5 week) crickets a day
The video link below titled "Zeus" is my pet in his old enclosure, before I upgraded to a 120gallon. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. :)
From TutuBlonde19 Apr 4 2010 12:56PM
My poor little Lizzy
I have a very vivid memory of my experience with Lizzy. I was 10 years old. I saw a video of a basilisk running on water at school, and I was hooked. My mom agreed to get me one if I promised to take care of it. I eagerly accepted the job.
Lizzy was the first lizard I remember seeing. She looked very healthy with a nice green color.
Everything was set to go. The tank was stocked full of all the essentials; gravel, rocks, structures, food, and water. It was properly shaded, not exposing too much light to the tank. Lizzy couldn't have asked for a better home. Everyday after school I'd watch her speed around her cage. I'd even let her run around my room.
One day after returning home, I discovered her curled in the corner, dead. I was devastated. I loved that little thing. My mom shortly discovered that she hadn't been drinking her water. I lacked the ability to notice something like that. Looking back now, it's easy to see that I wasn't mature enough to take care of something so delicate as a lizard..
From kevin818 Jul 21 2014 10:23PM