[Please Note: I would like to state that I have not experienced / seen any of the facts mentioned here. I am curious about the various unusual phenomenon occurring in nature. I have only researched and compiled these facts together. The images and videos presented in this blog are not photographed by me. Thank you.]
Man always fantasises about walking on water just the way he can walk on the land. But there is a creature that can actually run on water.
Basilisk is a type of lizard that has an ability to run on water surface. Its scientific name is Basiliscus basiliscus. Because of its ability to run on the water surface, it is also known as Jesus Christ lizard. It is generally found near rivers and streams in the rain-forests of Central and South America.
Basilisk is bit larger than the common wall lizard in size and its distinguishing feature is a fin like crest on its back; and also on head and tails in case of male basilisk. The colour ranges from brown to olive green. Adults grow up to 2 and half feet long. Females are generally smaller and weigh half as much as the males. Tails of the basilisks are so long that it comprises of 70 to 75% of their total body length.
Along with their ability to run on water, they are also known as excellent climbers and swimmers. Basilisk can stay under water for up to half an hour.
When it is threatened, basilisk runs to the nearest water body and continues running on water. It runs standing erect on its hind legs. The feet are large and have scaly fringes of skin along the toes. These hind feet slap on the surface of water, creating ‘pot-holes’ of air. The lizards’s strokes are quick and it pulls it’s feet out before these air-pockets collapse and fill with water.
Such quick-footed gait enables the basilisk to run on the surface of water. It uses it’s long tail for balance. It can run at an average speed of 8.4 Km/hr. Because of their body weight, the adults can cross only few meters before sinking (juveniles can run up to 10 meters of distance). After sinking it continues to swim underwater till it is far from the predator.
Basilisks also use this sprinting on water to capture their prey, as this water-running takes the prey by surprise. Basilisks can remain motionless for long time on land. It swims only when necessary.
Basilisk is omnivorous, it eats insects, flowers, small birds and fish. Predators of this lizard are large reptiles, birds and mammals.