A juvenile brown basilisk

Brown basilisk

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

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Common basilisk,
  • Jesus Christ lizard,
  • Jesus lizard,
  • Striped basilisk

Watch video clips from past programmes (1 clip)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.


Map showing the distribution of the Brown basilisk taxa

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


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Reptiles
  5. Scaled reptiles
  6. Lizards
  7. Corytophanidae
  8. Basiliscus
  9. Brown basilisk

BBC News about Brown basilisk

Video collections

Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.

  • The wildlife of Life The wildlife of Life

    In autumn 2009, a major new series brought us life as we've never seen it before.

  • Life in slow motion Life in slow motion

    Slow motion filming techniques transform amazing wildlife moments into full scale events, and simple action into incredibly detailed video sequences.