Plumed Basilisk

Plumed Basilisk in the reptile house at Wingham Wildlife Park

Plumed Basilisk Natural History

This species has the possibility of growing up to 3 feet long, with approximately 2 thirds of this length being made up by the tail.

Habitat and Distribution
This species lives in tropical rainforest throughout Costa Rica to Columbia. It spends most of its time both in the leaf litter and on lower branches, where it can move about very quickly. A major defense strategy for this lizard is to spend time under water, so it can often be seen basking on log over streams and ponds where it can drop in when in danger.

The average lifespan of this species is around 10 years.

The majority of their diet is made up of small to medium sized insects such as moths, beetles, crickets and grubs / worms. Sometimes they will also feed on small fish and baby rodents such as mice and rats.

Groups and Breeding
These lizards will lay between 5 and 15 eggs which hatch after incubating underground for around 8 to 10 weeks.

As yet this species is not considered to be in danger of extinction and their populations seem to be fairly steady in the wild, however due to logging through their home range, and extensive collection for the pet trade this could all change in the future.

Interesting facts
These lizards have the ability to run across water which it is able to do partly because its long slender tail gives it a lot of stability and because its back feet have tiny combs along the toes which stop the feet breaking the surface of the water. This ability has led to its other unofficial name, “Jesus Lizard”.

Plumed Basilisk During Your Day Out in Kent

The plumed basilisk at Wingham Wildlife Park can be seen in the reptile house. The basilisk can often be seen on the branches in it’s enclosure and it’s bright green colour usually makes it easy to spot.