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Is The Common Basilisk Endangered? (Will They Survive?)

If you are researching the Common Basilisk or you are interested in one to have at home you may be wondering if they endangered in any way…

Is The Common Basilisk Endangered?

The Common Basilisk is not endangered or extinct. However, their natural habitat is under constant threat and destruction, which is located in tropical regions. These threats do impact their numbers and could, in theory, threaten their status in the future if it is not corrected.

So, now you know. But, do these lizards bite? Can you even own one in your own home? What food do they eat? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

Can you own a basilisk lizard?

what does the common basilisk eat

A common basilisk eating a leaf.

You can own these lizards but they are not ideal for handling like other domesticated lizards. They are best to have and be viewed not picked up and cuddled. Also, out of the different variants of the Basilisk, the green Basilisk is the best-known one for domestication.

If you are a rue lizard lover that wants to play with it all the time this is not the one for you. This may be the reason it is not as popular as a Bearded Dragon, or Leopard Gecko, for example.

What are the predators of the basilisk lizard?

The Common Basilisk has several predators. For example, other bigger reptiles or birds. However, it has a few methods to avoid these predators. These tricks include hiding behind leaves or even staying very still to fall under their predator’s radar.

Regarding staying still. This may sound like a weird way of getting away from a hungry predator. But, their predators respond to movement. So, if they can remain very still they stand a chance of avoid being attacked by them.

Do basilisk lizards bite?

Basilisk lizards do bite. And, unfortunately, their bites are quite vicious. They have the ability to bite down hard and apply more pressure if you try to get them off. This is another reason why it is not a good idea to handle these lizards.

Are basilisks aggressive?

These Basilisk lizards are quite aggressive. In particular the female striped or even green variations get aggressive over food. So, some caution is needed if you have any of these types/sexes.

What does the Common Basilisk Lizard Eat?

They will eat almost anything they can find including insects, such as crickets. Fish, frogs, snakes, and even birds. Hence the reason I said they will eat almost anything. This is also the same as their baby lizards, although they have a smaller appetite, due to their size.

Where do they get their name from?

Getting its name from the Greek term basiliskos,’ which means ‘little king’ due to its crownlike head adornment, the common basilisks is undeniably one of the most beautiful lizards to walk the face of the earth.

It is also incredibly reminiscent of its ancestral cousins, the dinosaurs, and aren’t we glad that these ‘mini dinosaurs’ are still with us!

What does it look like?

Adult common basilisks are big lizards that can grow up to two and a half feet long . Nevertheless, their tails typically comprise 70 percent of their entire body length. The large tails help them with balance.

The common basilisk is usually brown or olive but can have color disparities ranging from bright green to bronze. It has dark crossbands and lateral stripes. Younger common basilisks have similar colorations but tend to be more vivid while having three longitudinal lines on their throats.

It has bronze or brown eyes. On their feet, they have long digits that have sharp claws to aid in climbing. A sexually dimorphic species, males have a set of high cranial crests that run along their entire body’s length.

They are, indeed, a sight to behold. Even though the plumes appear soft, they are ridged to touch. This affords them some level of protection against predators. It is also likely that these crests serve as thermal regulators by diffusing heat.

Where do the common basilisks come from?

This lizard typically lives in low elevations and is found in the South American regions of southwestern Nicaragua to northwestern Colombia.

It can also be found in central Panama and northwest Venezuela. You can also spot it on the Pacific side of Costa Rica.

Does it really run on water?

This beautiful lizard also goes by the name ‘Jesus Christ Lizard, or Lagarto de Jesus Cristo’ due to its ability to run on the water’s surface. To achieve this feat, the common basilisk has big hind feet that have scaly fringes between their third and fifth toes.

These fringes are typically compressed against their digits while walking on land; but upon sensing danger, the lizard can jump into the water, while simultaneously opening the fringes as they land on the water’s surface.

This enlarges the foot’s surface area, thus enabling it to run on water for a short distance.

This phenomenon occurs in three phases. The first is known as the slap, which involves the foot rapidly pushing water away from the leg, thereby creating an air bubble around the foot.

The next phase is the stroke, where the foot propels the animal forward, and the final step is the recovery where the foot comes out of the water to do the slap again.

A small basilisk can run for up to 20 meters while a mature one will run for shorter distances before submerging due to the extra weight. Nonetheless, common basilisks are excellent swimmers and can stay submerged for up to 20 minutes.

What is its Behavior?

Basilisks are diurnal and spend most of their time looking for food or basking. They sleep high up in the trees at night.

What are its predators?

Birds commonly eat smaller basilisks. Snakes and opossums will prey on an adult basilisk if they catch it unawares, for instance, while it is sleeping.

What is the best Terrarium and surroundings for them?

In captivity, it does not take a lot to make the common basilisk comfortable. An aquarium of standard size that has screen covers should provide suitable housing. Nevertheless, the size of the tank shall depend on the number of animals you intend to care for. A 55-gallon aquarium should be an ideal setup for a small group of say three females and one male.

However, it is essential to simulate the natural environments for these natured arboreal species so that they are comfortable. To achieve this, consider incorporating large tree branches that the lizard will climb as part of the aquarium’s furniture. Moreover, be sure to add potted plants such as philodendron or dracaena in the tanks to enhance their attractiveness while giving the lizard places to hide.

And since it is a reptile, the common basilisk is not able to control its body’s temperature, which is why it spends a lot of time basking in warm areas. This means that you must create warmth in the vivarium. However, too much heat can also be harmful.

Place an ultraviolet light in one area of the cage where the lizard can go and bask. Keep the temperatures at the mid-80s while adjusting according to the season.

The cage must also have a large bowl of water for drinking. However, basilisks usually defecate in their water. Thus you should change the water regularly. Nevertheless, this makes the general cleanup a lot easier.

What does the common basilisk eat?

The common basilisk is an omnivore, meaning that it eats both plants and flesh. However, they have been found to have a liking for fleshy foods. Thus, the diet of your pet basilisk should comprise various types of insects such as wax worms, crickets, spiders, grasshoppers, and mealworms. Also, be sure to dust their meals with a powder of Vitamin D3 and calcium supplements once a week.

If you will be rearing their food, such as feeder crickets, ensure that you give them a diet that is rich in vitamins. You could be giving the crickets rolled oats or shaved carrots.

How do you breed them and Are they easy to breed?

Common basilisks will reach their sexual maturity at around one year of age. Thus, if you are housing sexually active females and a male, you can expect a clutch of eggs each month.

Nevertheless, if you are intent on breeding, drying out their enclosure should stimulate them to breed often. The best conditions are those of temperatures between 84 and 88 degrees while having the humidity levels at the low 50s.

The average clutch size is between five and twelve eggs. However, due to their constant breeding, it is a likely possibility that you will soon run out of space if you intend to accommodate the hatchlings.

Are there any health threats for this lizard?

High humidity and heat levels can cause respiratory problems and skin disorders to the animal. To avoid this, keep the humidity levels at between 50 and 70 percent, and the temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees. Also, ensure that the enclosure has sufficient air circulation and natural sunlight to prevent fungus and bacteria.

Basilisks require UV lighting to process vitamin D. thus, without it, they will be unable to synthesize calcium, which can result in metabolic bone disease or osteoporosis.

Do they bite?

Common basilisks are not very fond of constant handling. Therefore, even though they are not typically aggressive, they might attack if they get agitated. This, however, does not imply that you shouldn’t touch them at all, instead, return them to their enclosure if they start getting upset.

These specimens boast an impressive set of jaws, and if they do bite you, do not try to wrestle them as you might injure the animal. A few drops of vinegar on its mouth should suffice.

Are they ideal for beginners?

The common basilisk is a docile animal that does not require a lot of maintenance. With the proper enclosure conditions, food, and respect towards it, anyone can have this lizard as their pet. Also, consider checking out the interesting ​Bibron Gecko.


Hi, this is me with my daughter and my Lizard friend. I hope you enjoy my research. Please feel free to check out my "About Me" page to find out more about me.