Plumed Basilisk

(Basiliscus plumifrons)




Facts about this animal

The Plumed Basilisk reaches a total length of 70 – 75 cm (up to 90cm), whereby the tail is 2,1/2 up to 3 times as long as the body. The colour is a brilliant green, but also dark-green and blue-green. From the neck to the tail base there is a row of white-yellow to bluish spots. On the flanks there is a second row of such spots. The belly is yellow. The males have a very conspicuous double helmet and a toothed crest on their back and tail. They eat insects, snails, frogs, fish, smaller lizards, but also flowers and fruit. Females reach their sexual maturity with 15 – 18 months. Several times per year the female lays up to 15 eggs after a gestation period of app. 50 days into a self-made hollow in the ground. The clutch is covered with substrate and is then left. The young hatch after a period of 55 to 105 days. A newborn Plumed Basilisk weighs about 3 grs.

Did you know?
that the Plumed Basilisk is not only a good diver and swimmer, but with a speed up to app. 11 km/h it is capable to run short distances on the water surface? This is due to its long hind legs and its long, wide toes. When the speed decreases, it sinks into the water.


Name (Scientific) Basiliscus plumifrons
Name (English) Plumed Basilisk
Name (French) Basilic crĂȘtĂ©
Name (German) Stirnlapenbasilisk
Name (Spanish) Basilisco verde, Basilisco de doble cresta
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Marcel Staub



Range Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama
Habitat In tropical, dense and shady rainforests near rivers and streams mainly on trees, lianas, bromelias, orchids and ferns.
Wild population This species is relatively common in the wild.
Zoo population 325 reported to ISIS (2007), but this species is also frequently kept by private owners.

In the Zoo

Plumed Basilisk


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 41 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Hans Hillewaert

Why do zoos keep this animal

The plumed basilisk is not a currently threatened species. zoos keep it primarily for educational reasons as a large and conspicuous representative of the lizards, because of its ability of biped walking and walking on water, reason why it has been dubbed “The Jesus Christ Lizard" and as an ambassador species for the conservation of neotropical forests. Basilisks are popular pets, and zoos may often come into position to accept abandoned or not properly kept specimens for animal welfare reasons.