Green Basilisk: Care Guide & Species Profile


If you’re looking for an exotic and fascinating pet, a green basilisk might be just the thing. These lizards are known for their ability to walk on water, earning them the nickname “Jesus Christ Lizard.” In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to care for a green basilisk, from their natural habitat to breeding and conservation efforts.

Introduction to Green Basilisks

What is a Green Basilisk?

The green basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons) is a species of lizard native to Central and South America. They typically inhabit rainforests, rivers, and streams, and are named for their bright green coloration and their crest of spines on their head and back.

Green basilisks are fascinating creatures, known for their unique characteristics and behaviors. They are also commonly referred to as the “Jesus Christ lizard” due to their ability to run on water, a feat that is often associated with the biblical story of Jesus walking on water.

Green basilisks are a relatively small species of lizard, typically measuring between 20 and 30 centimeters in length. They have a slender body and long tail, which they use for balance and communication with other basilisks.

Natural Habitat and Distribution

Green basilisks are primarily found in the rainforests of Central America, specifically in countries such as Mexico, Honduras, and Costa Rica. They are known to inhabit both lowland and upland areas, and can be found in and around bodies of water like rivers, streams, and ponds.

These lizards are well-adapted to their natural habitat, with their bright green coloration providing excellent camouflage among the lush green foliage of the rainforest. They are also able to regulate their body temperature by basking in the sun, a behavior that is commonly observed on tree branches and leaves.

Green basilisks prefer dense vegetation for protection and opportunities for basking in sunlight. They are arboreal, meaning they spend most of their time in trees and shrubs. They are excellent climbers, using their sharp claws to grip onto branches and their long tail for balance.

Despite their ability to climb trees, green basilisks are also able to swim and dive in water. They are known for their unique ability to run on water, which they achieve by slapping their feet against the surface of the water in a rapid motion. This allows them to move quickly across bodies of water and escape predators.

Behavior and Diet

Green basilisks are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night. They are also social creatures, often living in groups of up to 20 individuals.

These lizards are omnivores, feeding on a variety of insects, small mammals, and plant matter. They are also known to eat small fish and invertebrates, which they catch while swimming in bodies of water.

Green basilisks are known for their unique courtship behaviors, which involve the male performing a series of head-bobbing and push-up displays to attract a mate. Once a mate is found, the female will lay a clutch of up to 20 eggs in a nest made of leaves and twigs.

Conservation Status

Green basilisks are currently listed as a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, their natural habitat is under threat due to deforestation and habitat destruction, which could potentially impact their population in the future.

Efforts are being made to protect the rainforests of Central America and the species that inhabit them, including the green basilisk. By raising awareness about the importance of conservation and taking steps to protect these habitats, we can help ensure that these fascinating creatures continue to thrive for generations to come.

Physical Characteristics of Green Basilisks

Green basilisks are fascinating creatures with a number of unique physical characteristics that set them apart from other lizards. In this section, we will explore some of the most interesting features of these remarkable reptiles.

Size and Appearance

Green basilisks are relatively large lizards, growing up to 2 feet in length. They have slender bodies, long tails, and sharp claws for climbing. Their bright green coloration helps them blend into their surroundings, while their distinctive crest of spines makes them easy to identify.Despite their size, green basilisks are incredibly agile and can move quickly both on land and in the water. They are excellent swimmers and can hold their breath for up to 30 minutes at a time, allowing them to hunt for prey both above and below the water’s surface.

Color Variations

While green is the most common color for basilisks, they can also come in shades of brown and gray. Some may even have blue or yellow accents on their bodies. These variations in coloration are thought to be adaptations that help the lizards blend in with their environment and avoid detection by predators.Interestingly, the coloration of green basilisks can also change depending on their mood or level of stress. When threatened, for example, they may darken their color to blend in with the shadows and make themselves less visible to predators.

Sexual Dimorphism

Males and females of the species can be differentiated by size and physical characteristics. Males have larger crests and a more vivid green coloration, while females tend to have smaller crests and are slightly larger in size.In addition to these physical differences, male green basilisks also have a unique behavior known as “head-bobbing.” During mating season, males will bob their heads up and down as a way of attracting females and establishing dominance over other males.Overall, the physical characteristics of green basilisks make them fascinating creatures to observe and study. Whether you’re interested in their unique coloration, their impressive agility, or their intriguing mating behaviors, there’s always something new to learn about these remarkable lizards.

Green Basilisk Behavior and Temperament

Green basilisks, also known as plumed basilisks, are fascinating creatures that are native to Central America. They are medium-sized lizards that can grow up to two feet in length, including their long tails. In this article, we will explore their behavior and temperament in more detail.

Social Behavior

Green basilisks are known for their territorial behavior and can be aggressive towards other males. However, they can live in groups with several females and a single male. When they are not fighting for territory, they can be seen basking in the sun or hunting for prey.

Interestingly, green basilisks have been observed exhibiting social behavior that is similar to that of birds. They have been known to gather in groups and communicate with each other through various visual and vocal signals.

Activity Patterns

Green basilisks are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day and rest at night. They spend much of their time basking in sunlight, as well as hunting for insects, small mammals, and other reptiles. They are excellent climbers and can often be seen perched on trees or other high surfaces.

When they are not basking or hunting, green basilisks can be found engaging in various other activities. They have been observed playing with objects, such as leaves and twigs, and even chasing each other around.

Unique Abilities

Green basilisks are best known for their unique ability to walk on water. They use rapid, slapping motions with their hind legs to create pockets of air that keep them from sinking. This allows them to escape predators and hunt for prey in the water.

In addition to their water-walking abilities, green basilisks also have impressive jumping skills. They can jump up to four feet in the air from a standing position, which helps them to evade predators and catch prey.

Overall, green basilisks are fascinating creatures with a range of interesting behaviors and abilities. Whether they are basking in the sun, hunting for prey, or walking on water, they are sure to captivate anyone who observes them.

Setting Up a Green Basilisk Enclosure

Green basilisks, also known as plumed basilisks, are a stunning species of lizard that are native to Central and South America. They are known for their bright green coloration and their ability to run on water, earning them the nickname “Jesus Christ Lizard.” If you’re considering keeping a green basilisk as a pet, it’s important to set up their enclosure properly to ensure their health and happiness.

Choosing the Right Enclosure

When setting up a green basilisk enclosure, it’s important to choose a space that is large enough for the lizard to move around and climb without feeling cramped. A 55-gallon tank is typically the minimum size required, but larger is always better. This will give your basilisk plenty of space to explore and exercise.

It’s also important to consider the material of the enclosure. Glass tanks are a popular choice, but they can be heavy and difficult to move. Screen enclosures are another option, but they can be more difficult to maintain humidity levels. Ultimately, the choice will depend on your personal preferences and the needs of your basilisk.

Substrate and Furnishings

Green basilisks require a substrate that is easy to clean and provides good traction for climbing. Reptile carpet, coconut fiber, or sand are all adequate options. Avoid using cedar or pine shavings, as these can be harmful to your basilisk’s respiratory system.

Furnish the enclosure with branches, vines, rocks, and hiding spots to create a naturalistic and stimulating environment. This will not only make your basilisk feel more at home, but it will also provide opportunities for exercise and mental stimulation.

Temperature and Lighting Requirements

Green basilisks are ectothermic, which means they rely on external heat sources to regulate their body temperature. It’s important to provide a basking spot that reaches a temperature of 90-95°F during the day, with an ambient temperature around 80°F. This can be achieved with a heat lamp or ceramic heat emitter.

A UVB light is also necessary to provide the lizard with enough vitamin D3. Without this, your basilisk may develop metabolic bone disease, which can be fatal. Make sure the UVB light covers at least two-thirds of the enclosure and is replaced every six months.

Humidity and Water Needs

Green basilisks require a humidity level of 60-80%, which can be achieved with regular misting and a water dish in the enclosure. It’s important to monitor the humidity levels with a hygrometer and adjust as necessary.

They also need a shallow pool of water to swim in. This not only helps maintain humidity levels, but it also provides your basilisk with an opportunity to cool off and exercise. Make sure the water is changed regularly to prevent bacterial growth.

By following these guidelines, you can create a comfortable and stimulating environment for your green basilisk. With proper care and attention, your basilisk can live a long and healthy life as a beloved pet.

Green Basilisk Diet and Nutrition

Green basilisks are fascinating creatures that require a balanced diet to thrive. In the wild, they feed on a variety of insects, fruits, and vegetables. As a responsible pet owner, it is crucial to replicate their natural diet in captivity to ensure their health and well-being.

Feeding Schedule

When it comes to feeding green basilisks, consistency is key. These lizards should be fed every other day to maintain their energy levels and overall health. It is essential to offer a variety of live insects, including crickets, mealworms, and waxworms. These insects are a great source of protein and should make up the bulk of their diet.

In addition to insects, green basilisks should also be offered small amounts of fruit and vegetables several times a week. This can include banana, papaya, and leafy greens like kale and collard greens. These foods provide essential vitamins and minerals that are necessary for their growth and development.

Types of Food

To ensure that your green basilisk is getting a balanced diet, it is important to switch up their food options. In addition to crickets, mealworms, and waxworms, you can also offer other insects such as roaches, superworms, and silkworms. These insects offer different nutritional benefits and can help keep your lizard interested in their food.

Supplements and Vitamins

While a varied diet is essential, it may not always provide all the necessary nutrients. Dusting their food with a calcium and vitamin D3 supplement is a great way to ensure that they are getting the vitamins and minerals they need for healthy bone growth and development.

In conclusion, a balanced diet is crucial for the health and well-being of your green basilisk. By providing a variety of live insects, fruits, and vegetables, and supplementing their diet with vitamins and minerals, you can help ensure that your lizard lives a long and healthy life.

Health and Wellness for Green Basilisks

Green basilisks make fascinating and entertaining pets. These lizards are known for their ability to run on water, which has earned them the nickname “Jesus Christ lizards”. However, with any pet comes the responsibility of ensuring its health and wellness. In this article, we will discuss common health issues, preventative care, and when to consult a veterinarian for your green basilisk.

Common Health Issues

Green basilisks are generally healthy animals, but they are prone to certain health issues. One of the most common health issues is respiratory infections. These infections can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor husbandry and stress. If your green basilisk is displaying signs of respiratory distress, such as wheezing or gasping for air, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.Another common issue for green basilisks is parasites. These can include both internal and external parasites, such as mites and ticks. Parasites can cause a variety of health problems, including anemia and weight loss. If you suspect that your green basilisk has parasites, it is important to consult with a veterinarian.Injuries are also a common issue for green basilisks. These can include cuts, bruises, and broken bones. Injuries can occur from falls or from fighting with other lizards. It is important to monitor your green basilisk closely for signs of injury and to seek veterinary care if necessary.

Preventative Care

Preventative care is key to keeping your green basilisk healthy and happy. The first step in preventative care is to maintain proper temperature and humidity levels in the enclosure. Green basilisks require a temperature range of 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and a humidity level of 60-80%. It is important to use a thermometer and hygrometer to monitor these levels.Keeping the enclosure clean and well-maintained is also important for preventative care. This includes regular spot cleaning and deep cleaning as needed. It is also important to provide your green basilisk with a healthy diet, including a variety of insects and vegetables.Handling your green basilisk gently and avoiding stress is also important for preventative care. Green basilisks can become stressed easily, which can lead to a variety of health issues. Avoid handling your green basilisk too frequently and provide plenty of hiding spots in the enclosure.

When to Consult a Veterinarian

If your green basilisk displays signs of illness or injury, it is important to consult with a reptile veterinarian as soon as possible. Signs of illness may include lethargy, lack of appetite, respiratory distress, or diarrhea. In addition, if your green basilisk is not eating or drinking, it is important to seek veterinary care.Injuries can also require veterinary care. If your green basilisk has a cut or bruise, it may require antibiotics or other treatments. Broken bones may require surgery or other interventions.In conclusion, green basilisks are fascinating and entertaining pets, but they require proper care and attention to ensure their health and wellness. By monitoring for common health issues, providing preventative care, and seeking veterinary care when necessary, you can help your green basilisk live a long and healthy life.

Breeding Green Basilisks

Mating Behavior

Green basilisks are fascinating creatures that exhibit unique mating behavior. These lizards are sexually mature at around 18 months old, and during breeding season, males will display their colorful crests and engage in physical combat for the attention of females. This behavior is known as “cresting” and is a sight to behold. The males will puff out their throats, fan out their crests, and bob their heads in an attempt to impress the females.

The females, on the other hand, will assess the males’ displays and choose a mate based on the quality of the display. Once a female has chosen a mate, the pair will mate and the female will lay eggs.

Egg Laying and Incubation

After mating, females will lay clutches of up to 20 eggs in a nesting box filled with substrate. The eggs are soft-shelled and require careful handling to avoid damage. It is important to keep the eggs at a consistent temperature of 85-90°F for 70-80 days for successful hatching.

During this time, it is important to monitor the eggs closely and make sure they are not exposed to any extreme temperatures or fluctuations. The eggs should be kept in a separate incubation container to prevent contamination and ensure proper development.

Caring for Hatchlings

Once the eggs have hatched, the baby basilisks are incredibly tiny and fragile. They should be kept in a separate enclosure with similar requirements as adults. It is important to provide a suitable environment for the hatchlings to thrive, including a heat source, appropriate substrate, and a source of UVB light to ensure proper growth and development.

Feeding hatchlings can be a challenge, as they require small crickets or other appropriately sized insects. It is important to provide a varied diet to ensure the hatchlings receive all the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. Additionally, it is important to monitor the hatchlings closely and seek veterinary care if any health issues arise.

Breeding green basilisks can be a rewarding experience for those who are passionate about these unique creatures. With proper care and attention, these lizards can thrive and continue to captivate us with their fascinating behaviors and stunning appearances.

Legal Considerations and Conservation

Ownership Laws and Regulations

Green basilisks are legal to own in most states in the U.S., but it is important to check local laws and regulations before acquiring one.

Responsible Pet Ownership

As with any exotic pet, owning a green basilisk requires a commitment to responsible care and ownership. Be sure to educate yourself on their needs and provide a suitable environment for the lizard.

Green Basilisk Conservation Efforts

The green basilisk is not currently considered an endangered species, but habitat loss and illegal pet trade are potential threats. It is important to support conservation efforts that protect their natural habitats and prevent illegal trafficking.


If you’re interested in owning a green basilisk, it’s important to understand their unique needs and requirements. By providing a suitable environment, proper nutrition, and preventative care, you can ensure your lizard stays healthy and happy for many years to come.

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