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Green Basilisk Lizards

The Green Basilisk lizard is also known as the Jesus Christ lizard by many people – “why is that?” you’re probably thinking. Well this little guy has the amazing ability to run on water. There is a specific reason for this, and we’ve detailed it below.

We have also found many other fascinating facts about this lizard that may surprise you. Just read on to learn more!

How is the Green Basilisk lizard Different?

The Green Basilisk lizard is mostly recognized by its ability to quickly dart across the water – well, not just across it, but on top of it! This is a unique ability that makes this lizard stand out from the rest.

Green Basilisk Lizard facts

Although it seems like the Green Basilisk is somehow defying gravity, the trick here isn’t really a trick at. There are legitimate reasons why this animal can walk on the water, so to speak.

This lizard has long toes on their back feet and parts of the skin are fringed. The fringed skin unfolds in the water, expanding surface area. As the Green Basilisk quickly moves its legs, their feet are slapping the water, creating just enough of an air pocket to keep them from sinking like most other animals would.

They can run across the water like this for about 15 feet (4.5 meters) or more – turns out there is a scientific explanation for the mysterious “Jesus Christ” lizard after all, but that’s still a neat trick the Green Basilisk has.

How does the Green Basilisk lizard walk on water?

The Green Basilisk lizard only uses its back legs to walk on the water – so it is running the same way us humans are, on two legs!

The Green Basilisk lizard can run five feet per second on the water.

Green Basilisk Lizard

Did you know – for a human to run on the water like the Green Basilisk Lizard, they would have to be able to run 65 miles per hour? In other words, it is physically impossible for humans to recreate what this amazing little creature can do.

A member of the iguana family 

This lizard is actually a member of the iguana family. It eats a lot of plant-like foods, along with insects and some kinds of fruits as well.

These animals are already born with the ability to run (yes, on land and water!), climb, and swim. They are pretty active little creatures from birth.

It’s a good thing the Green Basilisk lizard runs a lot – it has some predators looking for it. Snakes and birds are a threat to this animal, so its ability to run on the water is actually very useful.

Where does the Green Basilisk lizard live?

The Green Basilisk lizard lives in Central America. Although they prefer to spend their time in trees, these lizards are always near water as well. If an enemy approaches, the Green Basilisk likes to drop directly into the water and make a fast escape.

lizard facts for kids

This lizard is also very good under water too, and is great at swimming, so sinking under water is no problem for them. They can stay under water for about 30 minutes – most humans can only stay under water for 2 minutes, so they are quite ahead of us in that regard.

The Green Basilisk lizard has a very long tail and holds it up when running on the water. This helps maintain balance and keep the lizard’s posture nice to prevent falling over and sinking.

Where did the Basilisk lizard get its name?

There is a mythical creature called the Basilisk – it is half rooster and half lizard, that legends says could turn a man to stone just by looking at him. Although this story is simply a legend, this is where the Green Basilisk lizard gets its name – it has some features similar to what a rooster has, believe it or not.

The typical Green Basilisk lizard is around 30 inches (80 cm) long. As their name suggest, they are usually green in color, and they have rooster-like features including a crest.


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