Where does the Jesus lizard live (Green Basilisk Lizard)?

It is estimated that there are over 7,000 species of lizards. These animals are said to be found on every continent except Antarctica, which is why most people know at least a species or two of them. Different species have distinct lifestyles and prefer different habitats. So you may want to know, where does the Jesus lizard live?

In the wild, Jesus lizards (real name basilisk lizards) are said to be common in Central America’s tropical rain forests, from southern Mexico to the Panama channel. It is reported that they spend most of their lives in the trees and are seldom far from a body of water.

So, What Types of Animals Are the Jesus Lizard’s Predators? What is the Jesus lizard’s real name? Why is the Jesus Lizard called the Jesus Lizard? Why can the Jesus lizard walk on water? How Does the Basilisk Lizard Run on Water? How long can a Jesus lizard live? How many species of Jesus Lizards are there? How do you get rid of Jesus’ lizards? Read on to find answers to these questions and more.

What Types of Animals Are the Jesus Lizard’s Predator?

Jesus lizards are known to have snakes, large birds, fish, a few mammals, and other larger reptiles as predators. Because some of these are land animals, the Jesus lizards, which like to live near water, can escape by running away on the water’s surface when frightened.

The Jesus lizard’s real name is the basilisk lizard, but its incredible capacity to run on water has earned these species their most identifiable moniker: the Jesus lizard, or Lagartija Jesucristo, as it is known by some.

Why is the Jesus Lizard called the Jesus Lizard?

The basilisk lizard goes by the common nickname “Jesus lizard” because of the reptile’s distinctive ability to walk on water. When startled, the basilisk lizards are said to speed off to the closest water edge—and continue to sprint. They are said to draw their forelegs to their sides and, in an erect position, use the hindlegs to run on the water’s surface, making the movement bipedal and very much like a human. Many say these lizards remind them of Jesus, the only human believed to have walked on water without the aid of a machine, according to the gospels, including the passage in Matthew 14:22–33. This is why they are referred to as Jesus lizards.

Why can the Jesus lizard walk on water?

Green Basilisk Lizard
Jesus lizard walking on water. Source: Pinterest

The lizards are known to walk on water because of their hind legs. It has been observed that these toes have scales on the fringes that make little webs that trap air bubbles and water underneath their feet. This is said to help them keep from sinking as long as they maintain their momentum. However, when they slow down, they begin sinking. It has been observed that they do not seem to mind swimming when this happens. Basilisks are said to have the ability to remain underwater for about 10 minutes, although some are reported to be able to stay much longer.

How Does the Basilisk Lizard Run on Water?

Studies have shown that basilisk lizards’ special hind legs, feet, and toes and how they use them give them the special ability to run on water. These toes are not only long but also have fringes of scales that they spread when on the water to increase the surface area of their feet as they make contact with the water.

They shoved down their feet, making a hollow-like air bubble, and pushed forward. The lizard lifts its foot before the bubble breaks, plunging it down into the water. The toes are bunched together to achieve this before the foot is pulled upward. This implies that the foot is engulfed by air as the reptile quickly retrieves its foot out of the bubble and propels itself forward.

Basilisk lizards are said to be able to run on the water this way for several meters. It has been observed that the younger lizards can run for between 10 and 20 meters on the water, which is generally further than the heavier ones can. Eventually, though, gravity will take over. When that happens, the lizards resort to swimming, an exercise that they are also good at. It is reported that a 175-pound person would have to sprint at a speed of almost 65 miles per hour to achieve a similar feat.

How long can a Jesus lizard live?

A basilisk’s average lifespan is between 8 and 10 years in captivity and around 5 to 7 years in the wild. Their Wild life is said to be shorter because of predators.

It is said female basilisk lizards get sexually mature at 18 to 24 months of age. After three weeks of gestation, the female will burrow a hole, and it is reported that one can lay between 5 and 17 eggs. These lizards are said not to tend to their eggs, only covering their nest with leaves and substrate. The eggs are said to normally hatch in 8 to 10 weeks. The hatchlings are said to have the ability to climb, run both on land and water, and swim.

How many species of Jesus Lizards are there?

Where does the Jesus lizard live?
Species of Jesus Lizards. Source: Pinterest

There are four known species of basilisk lizards. These include the Common Basilisk, the Western or Red-headed Basilisk, the Plumed Basilisk, and the Striped or Brown Basilisk.

The Common Basilisk scientific name Basiliscus basiliscus can be distinguished by its high, fin-like crest along the back and its large size.

Western or red-headed basilisk scientific name Basiliscus galeritus has a galeritus, which means “wearing a hood,” referring to their distinguishable red head crest.

Plumed basilisk, scientific name Basiliscus plumifrons, have a striking bright green color along their bodies, with white and black streaks along their necks and backs. The males have a crest on their tails and backs and large plumes on their heads. Females have a singular, much smaller head crest.

Striped or Brown Basilisk scientific name Basiliscus vittatus is olive-brown or brown with black crossbands. There is also a white streak extending from the eyes to the hind legs.

How do you get rid of Jesus lizards?

As with other lizards, getting rid of invading basilisk lizards is not difficult, as has been said. They are said to be easy to trap, as they do not need much encouragement to walk into traps.

Others report success when they squirted the lizards with pepper spray and sprayed it along the water edges and in the garden.

You can also opt to keep them away by scattering specially-made pest granules and squirting them with pest spray. Some have advised that you first apply the granules to the flower beds and dirt around the water body, such as the pool. The pest granules should also be used around your property boundary to keep the lizards from entering your yard.


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