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Green Basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons) Care Sheet

Green basilisks are semi arboreal lizard found in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama.  These beautiful lizards are found near bodies of water and are excellent swimmers.  This lizard is also known as the Jesus lizard, because of its ability to run across water.  Basilisks are a medium sized lizard and adults can reach over 30 inches in total length.  Males are larger than females and have enlarged crests that run along their head and back.  Basilisks are fairly easy to breed and adults can produce up to 15 eggs that hatch within 80 days. Basilisks are fairly long lived and with proper care these lizards can live 10-15 years or more. 

Temperature and UV Lighting

     Basilisks should be maintained at a daytime temperature of 85-90 degrees, with a basking spot reaching up to 95.  Night time temperatures should be maintained between 70 -75 degrees.  If your home is cooler than these temperatures at night you will need a red or other dark colored heat light.  Basilisks come from a humid environment and ideally humidity should be maintained from 70-80%.  This level of humidity can be accomplished by misting the cage daily with water.  Basilisks require 10-14 hours a day of UVB light. This light enables the lizard to produce vitamin D3.  The vitamin D3 produced by UVB metabolizes the calcium in the lizards’ diet.  In general it’s what makes basilisks bones hard and without it they usually die.  This process of inadequate UVB and calcium is called Metabolic Bone Disease.  Also it is very important to change your UVB light every 6-8 months, after this time the light stops producing adequate UVB.  If you’re not sure if your UV light is still producing UVB, bring it in and we’ll be happy to test the light for you.

Calcium

     Basilisks also require a calcium and vitamin supplement. This supplement works with the UVB light allowing the lizard to receive the proper amounts of calcium and vitamins. This should be used every day as babies and reduced to 1-2 times a week as adults.  Calcium is sold in a powder form and is sprinkled on the insects that you feed your lizard.  You should apply a very light coating to the food items, being careful not to waste any excess powder.

Bedding

     Our recommendation for bedding is bark, coconut bark or some other type of mulch.  This bedding absorbs water and helps maintain a high relative humidity.

Food and Water

     Basilisks should be fed appropriate sized crickets, mealworms, waxworms, and superworms.  A mixed diet of these food items, five to seven times per week, is ideal and will ensure proper growth and health.  Basilisks are excellent swimmers and a water bowl large enough for them to completely submerse themselves is ideal.