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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Basiliscus is a genus of large corytophanid lizards, commonly known as basilisks, which are endemic to southern Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. They are commonly known as the Jesus Christ lizard, or simply the Jesus lizard, due to their ability to run across water for significant distances before sinking.

Brown basilisk, Basiliscus vittatus, Costa Rica


Scientific classification :







Laurenti, 1768

Species  :

Basiliscus basiliscus
Basiliscus galeritus
Basiliscus plumifrons
Basiliscus vittatus

Taxonomy and etymology :


Both the generic name, Basiliscus, and the common name, "basilisk", derive from the Greek basilískos (βασιλίσκος) meaning "little king". The specific epithet, vittatus, which is Latin for "striped", was given in Carl Linnaeus' 10th edition of Systema Naturae.[1]


Physiology :


The basilisk has blue spots and a yellow iris, on average measures 70 to 75 mm (2.8 to 3.0 in), and weighs about 80 grams (2.8 ounces). Its growth is perpetual, fast when they are young and nonlinear for mature basilisks. Its long crest-like sails, reinforced in three distinct points (head, back, and tail), confer the impression of creatures such as Dimetrodon and Edaphosaurus. Its skin is shed in pieces.

Running on water :


The basilisk sometimes runs as a biped. Basilisks have the unique ability to "run" on water and, because of this, they have been dubbed as "The Jesus Christ lizard" in reference to the biblical passage of Matthew 14:22-34.[2] On water, the basilisk can run at a velocity of 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) per second for approximately 4.5 meters (15 feet) before sinking on all fours and swimming.[citation needed] Flaps between their toes help support the basilisk, creating a larger surface and pockets of air, giving them the lift needed to run across water. They can also sustain themselves on all fours while "water-walking" to increase the distance travelled above the surface by about 1.3 meters (4.3 feet).


Other defense mechanisms :


The basilisk can burrow into sand to hide from predators; a ring of muscles around both nostrils prevents sand from entering the basilisk's nose.


Habitat :


Abundant in the tropical rain forests of Central and South America, from southern Mexico to Ecuador and Venezuela. Recently introduced to Florida, it has adapted to the colder winters by burrowing into the leaf litter for warmth. Current reports sight the basilisk as far north as Fort Pierce, on the state's East Coast, where small groups have crept up the North Fork of the Saint Lucie River. Mainly they have been seen in Boca Raton and other cities in Palm Beach County. As recent as September 2015, a basilisk was spotted in a Miami residential neighborhood. One was captured and released in Port St. Lucie, Florida on 5/12/2017.


Classification :


Genus Basiliscus[3]


-Common basilisk, Basiliscus basiliscus (Linnaeus, 1758)

-Red-headed basilisk, Basiliscus galeritus A.M.C. Duméril & A. Duméril, 1851

-Plumed basilisk, Basiliscus plumifrons Cope, 1875[4]

-Striped or brown basilisk, Basiliscus vittatus Wiegmann, 1828

For the external links , refrences  click here to read the full wikipedia article 

Video :

Basilisk lizard runs on water to catch a butterfly, Rate My Science

Care : 


1-Basilisk Lizard Care And Information


courtesy to :



In December 1988, I visited Panama to collect brown basilisks for a breeder colony. I saw a few crossing a muddy river in Panama City and wanted them as breeders. I swam to the other side near a bridge in town. I saw a naked Indian under the bridge washing himself, and he thought that I came to do likewise.
"¿Jabón?" he asked. This meant, "Soap?"


"No," I replied, "I am going to catch a few basilisks."


I reached into a nearby burrow that I saw the basilisks enter. I felt a hard bite - harder than a basilisk bite would be - on one finger. I yanked my hand out immediately, and there was a big crab hanging from my finger, pinching it.


"¿Para comer?" the Indian asked. This meant, "To eat." He thought my word for "crab" was "basilisk."


I left the basilisks where they were, in the burrow.


Introduction to Basilisks :


Between 1989 and 1997, I bred almost 3,000 basilisks. I worked with three out of the four existing species, including the green or plumed basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons), common or brown basilisk (B. basiliscus) and red-headed basilisk (B. galeritus). I never tried to breed the mostly imported striped basilisk (B. vittatus, also known as the brown basilisk).


Basilisks are very elegant and enjoyable lizards. They have beautiful bodies, especially the green basilisks. I only stopped breeding them because during the mid-1990s, many were imported and the prices went down.


The genus Basiliscus is found in Central and South America, ranging from Jalisco and southern Tamaulipas in Mexico southward to the northwestern coast of Ecuador. These lizards dwell along riverbanks and other water basins that provide sufficient sun exposure. Overgrown trees, reeds and other vegetation provide typical habitat.


Wild basilisks are rather flighty lizards. They engage in head bobbing and lots of climbing. They are good swimmers and can also hide underwater when threatened. Wild basilisks are also known to run on water, an ability that garnered them the nickname: Jesus lizard.


Species Descriptions :


The striped basilisk's range spans from Mexico into northwestern Colombia. This species can adapt to a wide variety of habitats, but they are commonly found in drier areas up to 4,950 feet in elevation. Temperatures in B. vittatus territories average 62 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit in January and 73 to 92 degrees in July. A rainy season occurs in June through October, producing 4 to 7 inches of rain per month. Basiliscus vittatusreaches nearly 21 inches in total length, with a snout-to-vent length (SVL) of 6.8 inches. Males have a large crest on the head and a small crest on the back.


Green basilisks can be found in the southern regions of Nicaragua, Costa Rica and western Panama. They keep to the lowlands, where the temperature remains fairly constant, with cooler temperature ranges of 68 to 72 degrees and warmer temperatures averaging 88 to 93 degrees. Like striped basilisks, greens experience a distinct rainy season in their range, lasting from June to October. Basiliscus plumifronsis one of the larger basilisk species (along with the common basilisk) and can attain total lengths of up to 32 inches, with an average SVL of approximately 9.6 inches. I heard of one specimen that was reportedly 36.8 inches long. Males sport crests on the head, back and tail.


The common basilisk lives in southwest Nicaragua southward through northwestern Colombia (its subspecies, B. b. barbouri, is found in eastern Colombia and some parts of western Venezuela). It can be found at elevations up to 2,970 feet. Climate and rain patterns in its range are similar to those in the greens' range. They average 32 inches in total length, and SVL is approximately 9.6 inches. This species is sexually mature at a SVL of 4.7 to 5.4 inches, which occurs in the second year of age. Typical of basilisks, males again possess a crest on the head, back and tail.


The red-headed basilisk is the southernmost species, occurring in Panama, western Colombia and northwestern Ecuador. The smallest of the basilisks, B. galeritus can measure up to 28 inches with a SVL of roughly 7.6 inches (but most are smaller). Males have a large crest on the head. Little is known about the habitat preferences of the red-headed basilisk. Temperatures in its range are between 65 and 72 degrees on the lower end and 84 to 88 on the higher end. Rainfall averages 9 to 11 inches a month between January and March; during the rest of the year, the region receives relatively little rain.





Captive Care :


Basilisks are rather jumpy, but do fine in captivity when kept appropriately. They do not tolerate much handling.


Use of outdoor enclosures is recommended in places with appropriate climates. During the winter months, if necessary, basilisks should be brought indoors. I live in Alabama and kept all my basilisks outside from mid-April through mid-October.


Use of outdoor enclosures is recommended in places with appropriate climates. During the winter months, if necessary, basilisks should be brought indoors. I live in Alabama and kept all my basilisks outside from mid-April through mid-October.


They were kept in outdoor enclosures that were covered with plastic sheeting during cold nights. These cages were partially sunk 2 to 3 feet into the ground to help maintain a stable temperature. (The block or concrete walls in the ground acted like a buffer to maintain stable temperatures - much like a basement of a house.) The rest of the year, I kept the basilisks in heated setups in my basement.


Larger basilisks should be kept in enclosures measuring at least 4 feet square by 6 feet tall. Basiliscus galeritus and B. vittatus can be kept in smaller enclosures measuring 3 feet square by 5 feet tall. These are minimum cage sizes; the larger the setup, the better. Temperatures for captive specimens should mirror the temperatures found in the lizards' native habitat.


Basilisks should be provided with a forest terrarium with many climbing possibilities and shelters. Be sure any branches you place in their enclosures are clean and free of parasites. In addition to sturdy climbing branches, provide a large water bowl. This will need regular cleaning, as these lizards defecate in their water. This does often make general enclosure cleanup easier, however. I always kept my outdoor basilisks on normal soil. Peat, sphagnum or mulch can be used as substrates for indoor enclosures.


Basilisks kept indoors require a well-positioned (in a spot where it isn't too far away from the lizards) ultraviolet (UV) light. I recommend UVB lights made specifically for lizards (rather than UV lamps for plants). A basking hot spot, which can be provided by a spot light, should be heated to the mid-90s. Ambient temperatures should be in the 80s.


In drier climates or indoors, basilisks should be misted during a few months of the year to imitate the rainy season. Keep in mind that keeping any reptile in an evironment that is too moist can lead to bacterial or fungal infections; even the most water-loving herps want to dry out their bodies from time to time in the sun or under a lamp.

A wide variety of foods have been found in the stomachs of wild basilisks, including fish, frogs, small lizards and birds, as well as invertebrates, such as shrimp, ants, beetles, flies, grasshoppers, locusts, crickets and crayfish. Vegetable matter, including seeds, fruits, berries and leaves form a smaller portion of the wild diet.


I fed superworms to my basilisks every day, but they would also accept cockroaches (death's head roaches). Crickets are also accepted. Any insects offered should be gut-loaded with vegetables that are high in carotenes (commercial gut-loading diets are available as well). I recommend that indoor basilisks receive some calcium/mineral/vitamin supplements too.


Breeding Notes


I recommended keeping breeder basilisks year-round in groups of one male and two or three females. To stimulate breeding, mine were given a two- to three-month dry period during the winter. When basilisks are ready to breed, courtship behaviors observed are the usual head bobbing, etc.


My female basilisks nested in loose, black garden soil (potting soil without added chemicals such as fertilizers). In fact, basilisks and most lizards prefer black garden soil to sand for nesting. I noticed this again and again, when I had part of the terrarium (while breeding them indoors during the winter) set up with play sand and the rest with soil. I found that the lizards almost always avoided the sand and laid their eggs in the garden soil.


My lizards of various species (including Agama spp., Lacerta spp., Physignatus spp. and Basiliscus spp.) always prefer this nesting medium above all others. If you have breeding basilisks, place a large bucket of garden soil inside their enclosure, in which the gravid female can lay her eggs.


Common basilisk. In December 1988, Dr. Mark Paris and I visited Panama and obtained export permits for a number of common basilisk breeding pairs. I bred these lizards from 1989 to 1994. During this time, I was building Agama International and had limited time to make notes. Therefore, my notes on incubation periods are lacking.


Optimal breeding took place from May to September, while the basilisks were outside; a smaller peak of breeding success occurred in January, when they were brought inside. Eggs hatched approximately three months after breeding. Based on my records of hatching dates (see table), the results of the outdoor copulations were almost three times more successful than the indoor pairings.


The number of eggs per clutch varied from five to 15. The eggs were white when laid, but turned yellow after one to two weeks. I incubated the eggs in moist vermiculite, and they were completely covered in this medium. I did not weigh the water or vermiculite; I added water to the vermiculite until it felt slightly moist, like garden soil. Literature puts the incubation period at 60 to 76 days at a temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit and 110 to 113 days at 81 degrees.


Green Basilisk


Because of the greater demand for green basilisks, I started breeding them in 1990 and continued until 1997. Like B. basiliscus, the greens also bred more readily while they were outside. Maximum breeding activity occurred June through August. During their time indoors, they bred most readily during January.


The size of the freshly deposited eggs was 20 to 23 mm. The clutch sizes varied from five to 15, but the average was 12. I incubated the eggs at 82 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit in moist vermiculite. One time, the eggs were exposed for a short period to a temperature of 70 degrees, but they still hatched well.


I measured the incubation duration 13 times for B. plumifrons and found the following numbers, from shortest to longest: 54, 55, 56, 59, 60, 61, 62, 62, 68, 69, 78, 79 and 80 days. The average was 65 days.






Red-Headed Basilisk :


In November 1990, when I received some pairs of B. galeritus from Phil Romano and Dan Ferrena at New York Reptilia; I knew I had something very special on my hands. Virtually nothing was known about this species' reproduction. This encouraged me to take extra notes.


The animals started reproducing in their second year. Breeding took place about three and a half months prior to hatching. The majority of breeding activity happened from mid-April through mid-September. All young were born from August to January, which means that the only successful breeding attempts were those that took place outdoors. I collected eggs in the indoor setups, but they never hatched (unlike the eggs from B. plumifrons and B. basiliscus).


I once observed females laying eggs between 4 and 6 p.m. The number of eggs in these clutches was not very large; most clutches had five eggs. The egg size was nearly the same as that of B. plumifrons: 19 to 23 mm.


As I did with the other basilisk species, I incubated the eggs in moist vermiculate at 82 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. I also measured the incubation period 14 times. These recorded incubation periods were, from shortest to longest: 69, 69, 70, 71, 71, 72, 78, 79, 80, 81, 81, 82, 85 and 89 days. The average incubation period was 77 days, approximately 12 days longer than that of B. plumifrons when kept at similar conditions.


Twice I measured hatchlings at birth. They were 3.5 inches long (SVL of 1.5 inches) and 3.6 inches long (SVL of 1.7 inches).


Of the three basilisk species I kept, the red-headed basilisk was the most delicate and difficult to reproduce.


Rearing Hatchlings :


Most babies were kept in spacious cages measuring 6 feet tall by 2 feet deep by 3 feet wide with many branches for climbing. Twenty to 30 young were kept in these setups. The back wall of these cages had four to five heavily used hideboxes located at different levels. I kept young basilisks on regular soil or dirt (topsoil) indoors and out.


Water bowls were refilled daily. We used paint roller trays as water bowls for the young, because they are inexpensive, readily available and their built-in "ramp" makes it easy for the lizards to climb in and out of the water. When the babies were outside, these water bowls were always placed in the shade, as the sun would overheat the water. If the young jumped into sun-heated water that was too hot, they could die. During winter months, we avoided putting cold water into the bowls; otherwise, the babies could become paralyzed and drown.


Young basilisks should always be kept at a temperature above 60 degrees Fahrenheit; however, a short exposure to temperatures down to 45 degrees will not kill them. I tried to keep night temperatures above 60 to 74 and, during the day, 75 to 95 degrees. Indoors, I maintained the young in the 65- to 70-degree range at night and the 80- to 90-degree range during the day. I also provided the previously mentioned UVB lighting and a hot spot.


Feeder insects, such as small superworms, normal mealworms and crickets, were offered to the young daily.


I also added vitamin D3 to the water to prevent metabolic bone disease. Despite the supplements, the babies that were reared indoors began cramping up and seemed paralyzed. It became clear that these youngsters somehow could not make use of the vitamin D3 and needed UVB lights or direct sunshine in order to prevent cramping, which is a sign of calcium deficiency.


Basilisks are very beautiful and elegant lizards that can be kept very well in capivity, if sufficient space and the right microclimate conditions are offered. These lizards are best kept as a show animal in a well-planted vivarium with lots of branches; they are not suited to handling.


Of the four basilisk species, the green basilisk is the best choice for a captive. Second is the common basilisk. The red-headed basilisk is the most delicate of the species and is only suitable for more advanced terrarium keepers. This species is also harder to find in the pet trade.


Basilisk Health Concerns :


Like other lizards, basilisks can suffer from parasites, ranging from nematodes to flagellates and coccidia. A thorough vet exam is highly advised for newly purchased animals, especially if they are wild caught.


Basilisks live in a green environment, where they consume prey items that contain leaves in their gut. These leaves are a natural source of vitamin A (carotenes) for the animals in the wild. If basilisks are kept in the terrarium, they often receive insects that do not have enough carotenes. When the enclosure is dry and dusty, this quickly leads to blurred eyes and eye infections. The dust irritates the eyes, while the lack of vitamin A reduces the ability to fend off parasites. While it is possible to overdose on vitamin A, I highly recommend gut-loading prey items with carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes or leaves.


Rostral injuries can result from accidents, such as when a basilisk bangs its nose against the glass or wire walls of its terrarium. A panicky basilisk will run with full speed into glass and hurt its nose. Rostral trauma can be followed by disease, when wounds on the nose become infected. The best way to prevent such injuries is by limiting the number of glass walls in the basilisk enclosure to only the front (with the other walls being wood, plastic, etc.) and to provide sufficient hiding places, so that the animals feel secure. Another possible solution is to cover the lower portion of any glass walls with an opaque material (paper or fabric), so there is a visible barrier the basilisk can see and avoid running into.



2- Basilisks

Captive Care and Breeding

courtesy to :

©1995 Peter Paterno

Few could argue that one of the most spectacular lizards that can be part of one's herpetological collection is the Green Basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons). Its bright green coloring, large dorsal fin and caudal fin (found in the male) brings back a Jurassic nostalgia to the observer.


Four known species of basilisk exist and are distributed from tropical Mexico down through Central America to northern South America. Basiliscus vittatus, commonly known as the Brown or Striped Basilisk, is found throughout southern Mexico, parts of Central America, and into Colombia. Basiliscus basiliscus, the Common Basilisk, is distributed throughout Central America and Colombia. Basiliscus galeritus, the Western (or Red-headed) Basilisk, inhabits western Colombia and Ecuador up through Central America. Lastly, the Green Basilisk, Basiliscus plumifrons, is resident to Central American rain forests in Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.


The reptile aficionado who frequents the local pet shops is likely to encounter three of the four mentioned above: plumifrons, vittatus, and basiliscus. The males of these species grow to lengths of up to three feet--most of which is tail. Upon maturity, raised dorsal and caudal fins appear and give them an exotic and enchanting appearance. Males tend to be highly territorial and keeping multiple males in small enclosures is inadvisable. Fighting will almost always occur, resulting in dominance over weaker males which will not thrive under such stress. Males tend to exhibit head bobbing as both a threat gesture and a courtship behavior to attract potential mates. Female basilisks are comparatively smaller and lack the ornamental fins of their male counterparts.


These lizards are arboreal and prefer locations near water. Being easily frightened, the lizard will drop from a branch overhanging a pool of water and scurry off to seek protection. Having specialized scales on the bottoms of the rear feet, basilisks are able to run across the surface of water for some distance before breaking the surface tension and swimming away hurriedly. They have been thus dubbed the "Jesus lizard" in parts of their native countries. In captivity, these lizards tend to maintain their somewhat skittish nature and do not make the best pets for those who wish to handle their pets frequently.

Housing & Maintenance


Basilisks generally do well in captivity, provided their minimum requirements are met. They can be kept in standard glass aquariums with locked screen covers. The tank size corresponds to the number of animals one wishes to maintain. The author maintains a small group (three females and one male) in a 55-gallon aquarium and has been successful with this type of setup. As mentioned earlier, only one male per enclosure should be housed with two or three females.


Large, sturdy climbing branches should be included as cage furniture to satisfy the arboreal nature of these animals and to mimic their natural environment. Potted plants such as pothos, dracena, or philodendron can also be added to enhance the beauty of the enclosure and add to the lizards' sense of security.


Coming from the tropical zones of the Americas, basilisks need temperatures in the mid-70s up through the 80s. Relative humidity requirements vary among species and depend on the keeper's goal. Humidity at about 60-70% is acceptable. This can be accomplished by a daily misting, or setting up a system with a timer to mist several times per day. As an example of changing humidity needs, in Basiliscus basiliscus, relative humidity is increased to upwards of 80% to induce breeding.


As with most captive reptiles or amphibians, full-spectrum lighting is necessary for the synthesis of vitamin D3 and utilization of calcium. Exposure to natural sunlight is beneficial. Remember that the sun's ultraviolet light is filtered by the glass sides of the aquarium; the keeper can utilize an outdoor screen enclosure for brief periods of exposure.


Also, basilisks enjoy a basking site, and as with all cold blooded reptiles, these lizards regulate their body temperatures by moving back and forth between heat sources and shaded areas. Therefore, the keeper should provide open exposure to heat as well as to shaded areas to aid in thermoregulation. A ceramic heating element suspended above the cage does not emit light but is a good source of heat.

Diet :


Basilisks enjoy a variety of insects and readily accept crickets, mealworms, Zoophobia, wax worms, grasshoppers, spiders, and an occasional pinkie mouse. Their food should be dusted with a fine powder vitamin supplement and calcium supplement with vitamin D3 about once per week.


One may also give feeder crickets a vitamin-enriched diet. Rather than using potatoes to sustain large amounts of crickets, feed them oranges, shaved carrots, and rolled oats to gut-load the prey items; when the lizards dine on these crickets, the basilisks will enjoy the prey's vitamin-enriched diet as well. Gut loading has been cited in much of the herpetocultural literature. As for pinkie mice, these can be offered once a week or less, and can also be dusted with a supplement.


Breeding :


Successful breeding results from several factors: manipulation of humidity, temperature, and photoperiod, health of specimens to be bred, and careful incubation of eggs. For Basiliscus basiliscus, high relative humidity is necessary to stimulate breeding ( about 80% seems to be what is needed). Increased temperature following a cooler dry period is also warranted. Temperatures in the mid- to upper 80s is optimal. A photoperiod of 12 hours light to 12 hours dark seems to be the best ratio. These guidelines can also be used for Basiliscus plumifrons and vittatus; however, in the latter a lower relative humidity will also be effective in inducing breeding behavior.


One should only choose healthy specimens with ample fat stores in the tails. They should not appear emaciated, nor should their abdominal regions be flaccid to the touch. Weak specimens should be given adequate time to gain strength and weight before being subjected to breeding stresses.


After choosing healthy specimens and following the conditioning procedures above, one can begin to introduce females to the male. Separating females from males prior to breeding increases likelihood of successful copulations. The male demonstrate interest in his soon-to-be concubine by repeated head bobbing gestures followed by inching closer and closer to their targeted female. The female may respond positively by lowering her head and raising her tail. This behavior further cues the male. After repeated head bobbing by the male and subsequent acceptance by the female, the male proceeds to seize the female by the flap of skin on the back of her head. Copulation may last as long as 20 minutes, but averages 10 minutes.


Multiple successful copulations increase the likelihood of viable fertile eggs. Gravid females plump up after a week or two, and by the third week begin looking for a suitable site to deposit the eggs. Prior to this, a mixture of damp peat moss, soil, and sand should be placed in the breeding tank as an egg-laying medium for gravid females. Females use a receptor system in their snouts to judge proper temperature and humidity of the deposit site; while burrowing, females frequently point their snouts into the burrow to check if these conditions are adequate.


Clutch sizes vary between the species. In Basiliscus basiliscus, clutches range from 8-18 eggs (averaging 12). In Basiliscus vittatus, maximums of 12 have been noted, but averages are lower (around five to seven eggs). Basiliscus plumifrons may lay up to 15-17 eggs per clutch. These lizards are known for their ability to lay multiple clutches per season, sometimes up to four or five. In general, clutch depends on the age, size, and health of the female.


Eggs should be removed and marked on their tops with a pencil in order to preserve their original orientation. The eggs are then transferred to a circulated air incubator and placed in a mixture of water and vermiculite (1:1 by weight). Eggs should be placed about two-thirds down, with their tops slightly visible. A thin layer of damp sphagnum moss may be placed on top to increase humidity. Incubation temperatures should be maintained at around 84°F, with a high relative humidity, especially during the first four weeks.


Hatching occurs at around eight to ten weeks and occurs over one to two days. Hatchlings emerge from the leathery eggs by way of their egg tooth, which later drops off. Young basilisks should be left in the incubator until the yolk sac is absorbed. After this, they can be placed in a separate tank which is set up similar to their parents enclosure, and reared on small one- to two-week-old crickets and wax worms.


They reach sexual maturity within 18-24 months. However, fighting among males may be observed as early as five months, and males should be separated at this time. Hatchlings have high calcium requirements and should be offered calcium- and vitamin-enriched insects often. Providing clean water regularly is also a must. 


Diseases & Disorders:


In captivity, basilisks are subject to a variety of diseases that are common to captive-raised reptiles. Frequently, one may note that the tips of the snout is abraded on certain specimens. This is caused by continual rubbing against the tank's barrier. In general, basilisks are unaware of the glass or screen that surrounds them and therefore try to move forward in a vain effort. While it can be treated easily, advanced cases of rostral sores can result in complications, including severe infection and subsequent death.


Another commonly seen disorder occurs in hatchlings and adults who do not have adequate ultraviolet light, or who lack calcium or vitamin D3. Metabolic bone disease is characterized by bone deformities and softening of bone tissue and eventual death if untreated. Some deformities may not clear up after treatment so early intervention is essential.


Stomatitis, or mouth rot, is seen in many reptiles. Caused by bacteria which forms in and around the jaw line, it can be treated by a veterinarian with topical antibiotics. Specimens who suffer from stomatitis often go off-feed and become weak and lose weight. Regular checking of the oral cavity can curtail advanced stages of the disease. The oral cavity should appear pink and healthy. Any caseous matter or spongy masses could be a sign of stomatitis and the animal should be taken to a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.


External parasites such as ticks or mites may plague some specimens, especially imports. Ticks feed off a host be drawing blood and nutrients which would otherwise go towards the growth and repair of the host's cells and body. Carefully remove the ticks by using a pair of sterile tweezers or forceps to gently pull the parasite from the basilisk's body. Betadine solution can be applied to decrease risk of infection.


Some basilisks can also harbor internal parasites such as protozoa and nematodes. Imports tend to be at greater risk of parasite infestation, but captive specimens exposed to parasites may also become infested. Characterized by loose, runny stools and weight loss, parasitic infestation can be diagnosed via fecal sample examination by a veterinarian and treated accordingly.


While basilisks are susceptible to these problems, if treated early they can recover and be enjoyed by the advanced hobbyist. Green and Brown Basilisks especially make beautiful additions to a collection. Trends indicate that captive-bred specimens will continue to be available through private breeders.


Although fairly plentiful in the wild, encroachment on their habitat coupled with deforestation may impact the future of this species. It is the author's hope that this article will stimulate more interest in such wonderful and beautiful reptiles.

Further reading :



Anoles, Basilisks, and Water Dragons Paperback 

January 1, 1997

by Richard Bartlett (Author), Patricia Bartlett (Author)

Many  books you can find in the  Internet based libraries and bookshops like ( Click Here ) ..


But first look for the best prices at Book 

Basiliscus : Introduction , general care and further reading 

Basiliscus Species :

                                 1- The plumed basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons) : PART 1   ..  PART 2


                                 2-The common basilisk (Basiliscus basiliscus) 


                                  3- The western basilisk, or red-headed basilisk (Basiliscus galeritus)  


                                  4- The brown basilisk or striped basilisk (Basiliscus vittatus ) 



Basiliscus : Introduction , general care and further reading 

Basiliscus Species :

                                 1- The plumed basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons) : PART 1   ..  PART 2


                                 2-The common basilisk (Basiliscus basiliscus) 


                                  3- The western basilisk, or red-headed basilisk (Basiliscus galeritus)  


                                  4- The brown basilisk or striped basilisk (Basiliscus vittatus ) 



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