Common Basilisk

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Insects, Reptiles and Fish

iCommon Basilisk
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Sauria
Family: Corytophanidae
Genus: Basiliscus
Species: B. basiliscus
Binomial name
Basiliscus basiliscus
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Basiliscus basiliscus or basilisk is a lizard found in Central and South American rainforests near rivers and streams. It is up to 75 cm (2.5 feet) long including the tail and eats insects, small invertebrates, flowers, and small vertebrates like snakes, birds, and fish.Its predators include large birds of prey, snakes, fish, other large reptiles, and mammals. This animal is not endangered.

It is part of the iguana family. It, along with the Brown basilisk, has the nickname "Jesus Christ Lizard" or "Jesus Lizard" because when fleeing from a predator, it is very fast and can even run on top of water for a brief while.

Basilisks have large hind feet with flaps of skin between each toe. These are rolled up when the animal walks on land. If the animal faces danger, it starts to run very fast on the surface of a river or a lake. Then the flaps on its hind feet are opened and thus more surface area is provided for it to run on water.

Smaller basilisks can run about 10-20 m on the water surface without sinking, and can usually run farther than older ones. Like most reptiles, basilisks are active during the day. They have long toes and sharp claws. Most are under 25 cm (1 foot) in length, but some may grow up 75 cm. Basilisks usually weigh between 200-600 grams.

Their maximum lifespan is probably around 7-8 years, but in the wild, most die much sooner. Females lay about 2-18 eggs, five to eight times a year. Eggs hatch after about three months and the young weigh about 2 grams. Their outstanding camouflage allows them to remain motionless and very hard to detect.

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