Basiliscus vittatus — Brown Basilisk
Also known as:
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, Belmopan, 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.
This was my first trip to South Florida with my new camera system (Lumix G9, replacing decades of Pentax use), so I naturally had to visit as many old friends as possible to test it out on.
This is probably a different individual than the one I photographed yesterday. Either way, both of them are quite good looking.
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