The Plumed Basilisk Doesn’t Just Walk on Water, it Runs!


One of the world's most amazing lizards is the plumed basilisk found in the forests of Central America, plumed basilisks, known in Latin as basiliscus plumifrons, were named after a mythical Greek monster. Unlike their namesake, basilisks cannot turn predators into stone, but they do have a trick that is almost as useful. These lizards can run on water! This is useful because when the basilisk needs to run away from a predator, they can escape to the safety of the water.

Plumed basilisks run on the surface of water by using their webbed feet along with rear feet that are shaped like plungers, which create tiny air pockets that keep them from sinking into the water. There are three ways that this lizard can start their run on water: They can start underwater and rise to the surface, they can jump onto water from a tree, or they can start on land. These Lizards are great divers, and can remain underwater for as long as 30 minutes.

Basilisks are also unique due to their distinct look. They have green skin that allows them to blend into their natural habitat, the forest. Because they are reptiles, they shed their skin regularly in a process called molting. Male basilisks also have a crest on their backs and heads-- a sign of physical fitness they use to attract mates.

Basilisks are omnivores, which means they eat plants as well as meat. These little lizards are two to two-and-a-half feet long and weigh up to seven ounces. Their average lifetime is around 10 years. Female basilisks lay up to 20 eggs in a trench at once. After they hatch, their mother leaves them to grow up all on their own.

The plumed basilisk is an extremely unique creature that has some pretty cool features to match.

[Sources: Extremely Weird Reptiles; National Geographic]

This is a great article. Nice work, Nia. – Shoko MiyagiUW-Madison (2016-05-20 20:40)
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