What is the Jesus lizard?

The Jesus lizard is a type of basilisk lizard.

Jesus Lizard is a nickname given to the common basilisk lizard, also called the green basilisk. The nickname is derived from the lizard’s unique ability to walk on water, referencing the biblical story of Christ crossing the Sea of ​​Galilee. Its natural habitat is in the rainforests of Central and South America, usually near bodies of water such as rivers and streams.

The Jesus lizard’s natural habitat is the rainforests of South and Central America.

This aquatic lizard acquires its messiah power thanks to the folds of skin on its feet that unfold when in the water. This increases the surface area of ​​the lizard’s feet. When running, the flaps hit the water hard, creating small pockets of air that prevent the lizard from sinking long enough to move forward. Thanks to these specially designed feet, the basilisk can sometimes run up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) on the surface of the water before finally submerging. Adding to the strange sight, some basilisks do this on two feet, giving them a humanoid appearance and more credence to the Jesus lizard moniker.

Jesus lizards live in tropical forests.

The basilisk’s ability to walk on water is often used to evade larger predators. The Jesus lizard is low on the food chain in its natural habitat and is frequently attacked by birds and snakes. When the ability to walk on water takes them as far as possible, they dive into the water. The basilisk can move quickly underwater or on top of it. In captivity, a basilisk can live up to 10 years, but they rarely survive that long in the wild as they are chased by so many predators.

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The basilisk is omnivorous, which means it feeds on both plants and animals. Common prey for the Jesus lizard include small insects, fish, and vertebrates, as well as various fruits and plant matter. Like many other lizards, the basilisk grows perpetually from birth to death. They can reach 30 inches (75 centimeters) but are most often seen around 12 inches (30 centimeters) or less. In addition to its ability to walk on water, other defining features of this lizard include a large crest on its head and sharp claws that adorn each toe.

The Jesus lizard is a popular pet lizard for many reptile aficionados. They are typically kept in a large aquarium or lizard cage, solitary or in groups, and require a good amount of heat and humidity to stay healthy.

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