Basilisks are found in the tropical areas of Mexico and Central and South America. They are arboreal (tree dwelling) and are always found near ready supplies of water. They will often drop from the branches when frightened, into the pools and scurry off to safety. Specialized scales on the bottoms of their feet allow them to run across a fair distance of water before diving in, at which point they swim hurriedly away. Green basilisks are excellent swimmers and have been known to remain submerged for up to 30 minutes. They are also swift runners, capable of attaining speeds of nearly 7 miles per hour. They lay one to seven eggs. The eggs will hatch in about eight to ten weeks. It usually takes one to two days for all the eggs to hatch. Babies are born knowing how to run, climb, and swim, and do most of these activities on the day that they are born.
The two pictures in this page were taken at Pittsburgh zoo, in August 2002.
Life on Earth