Plumed Basilisk
Physical description
Binomial nameBasiliscus plumifrons
HabitatRainforest, and always near a body of water
Lifespan12 years or more
Average Size65-70 cm (26-28 in.), rarely to 1 m (3 ft)
DietOmnivorous (mostly insects, and occasional plants)
Scientific classification
SpeciesB. plumifrons
Distribution of speciesAcross Central America

The Plumed Basilisk (also called the Green Basilisk) is a species of lizard native to Central America.


Plumed basilisks are green to blue-green in coloration, and occasionally spotted or banded.[1] Male individuals have large head, vertebral, and caudal crests, while females have none or smaller ones.

They are medium-sized lizards, reaching lengths of 2 feet or more.

Distribution and HabitatEdit

Plumed basilisks live in Central American rainforests. Some populations have spread as far south as Ecuador. They always live near a source of water.


Although these basilisks are primarily insect-eaters, they are omnivores. As well as the usual fare of small insects, they will eat small mammals and, on occasion, fruits.


An intriguing fact about this animal is that when threatened, they will dash away, running across the surface of the water. They acheive this by using their wide, splayed feet. This ability has earned the lizard a nickname of "Jesus Christ lizard" (from the same ability used by the religious figure). The plumed basilisk is the lizard most commonly cited for this behavior, but other basilisks use it too.

These creatures are also good swimmers and climbers.[2]

In captivityEdit

Plumed basilisks are often kept in captivity. Most are captive bred, but some are still collected from the wild. They will often rub their noses against the sides of the cage.


  1. Bartlett, R. D., and Patricia Bartlett. Reptiles, Amphibians, and Invertebrates: An Identification and Care Guide. Hauppage, NY: Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1997.
  2. Barron's Educational Series, Inc. Terrarium Animals from A to Z Compass Guide. 2nd edition, in English (first edition written by Grafe und Unzer Verlag GmbH, first published in Germany under the name Der Brofe GU Kompass: Terrarientiere von A bis Z in 2004). Hauppage, NY: Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 2005
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