Basiliscus vittatus — Brown Basilisk
Some other names for this species:
Striped Basilisk, Yellow-striped Basilisk, Jesus Christ Lizard
This is a juvenile. Basilisks can run really fast on their hind legs, and with their spread-out back feet they can even run across water, a habit that has earned them the nickname "Jesus Christ lizards".
Pook's Hill, Belize—April 13, 1998
Along the edge of the Red Road canal, a large population of brown basilisks thrives. These three are all large adults. The last one is particular old and grizzled (but still remarkably fast).
A warm December day brought out the non-native Florida basilisks again in large numbers. The first four here are in order of increasing age and size, from a tiny hatchling (cute!) to a full-sized adult (what a tail!). The fifth and last photo shows a subadult basilisk snacking on a Brown Anole, another non-native Floridian lizard. These basilisks are extremely fast and quite shy, so it's always a challenge to notice them from far enough away to get a photo before they speed off into the bushes or across the water.
It had been many years since I saw one of these dramatic lizards in their natural habitat. Well, almost natural anyway. This one was basking on a rough brick patio. A fine lizard in the grand scheme of things, but it really loses its luster when compared to its sympatric green cousin.
- Bartlett, R. D., Bartlett, P. B. 1999. A Field Guide to Florida Reptiles and Amphibians
- Campbell, J. A. 1998. Amphibians and Reptiles of Northern Guatemala, the Yucatán, and Belize
- Conant, R., Collins, J. T. 1998. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Third Edition, expanded
- Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2017. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding, Eighth Edition
- Lee, J. C. 1996. The Amphibians and Reptiles of the Yucatán Peninsula
- Lee, J. C. 2000. A Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of the Maya World
- Rogner, M. 1997. Lizards
- Stafford, P. J., Meyer, J. R. 2000. A Guide to the Reptiles of Belize