Brown basilisks are one of the lizards nicknamed the 'Jesus lizard' for their ability to rise up on their hind legs and walk - or rather run - on water. They can only manage this feat on still water, and only for short distances.
Scientific name: Basiliscus vittatus
Ultra-slow motion shows the Jesus Christ lizard's novel escape technique.
The basilisk lizard isn’t also called the Jesus Christ lizard for nothing. When threatened, this unique reptile takes to the waters of Belize and moves its long-toed feet so fast that it can – quite literally – run on water. Miracle of nature? You decide...
Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The Brown basilisk can be found in a number of locations including: North America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.
The following habitats are found across the Brown basilisk distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
The Brown Basilisk or Striped Basilisk (Basiliscus vittatus; in some areas referred to as "common basilisk") is one species of basilisk lizard. They are native to Panama, Belize, northwestern Colombia and Costa Rica, but have been introduced into the U.S. state of Florida as a feral species.
Along with the Common Basilisk they have the nickname "Jesus Lizard" because when fleeing from a predator, they are very fast and can even run on top of the water. Basilisks actually have large hind feet with flaps of skin between each toe. The fact that they move quickly across the water, aided by their web-like feet, gives them the appearance of "walking on water".
Male Brown Basilisks can reach 61 cm in length and females are somewhat smaller. Their three crests are on the head, along the body and along the tail. They usually appear in brown or olive brown with black stripes. The stripes are usually only on the flanks and on the dorsal crest. They also have a white stripe, which extends from the eyes to the rear legs. The males have a larger crest than the females.
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