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The Jesus Christ Lizard

The green basilisk lizard is also known as plumed or double-crested basilisk because of its unique crest on the head that’s used by the males to attract females.

But its spectacular ability to walk as well as run on water gives it the most recognizable moniker: The Jesus Christ Lizard.

Found abundantly in Central American rainforests, it spends much of its time in the trees, not much far from water bodies, to warm up its cold blood. When threatened by predators like birds and snakes, it jumps into the water and runs at a speed of around 5 feet per second.

Image: National Geographic

Most animals that try to walk/run on water sink, as unlike solid ground, water offers little support. But the Jesus lizard is capable of running on the surface of water by generating forces with its feet that keeps its body not only above the surface but also upright.

It bicycles its rear feet which have special toes that perform this act. These long toes have scale-like fringes of skin that unfurl in water and increase the surface area. As it rapidly pumps its feet, it slaps the water hard, creating tiny air pockets that keeps it suspended on the top of the water, provided they maintain their speed. After doing so for 15 feet or more gravity eventually does take over and the basilisk makes use of its amazing swimming skills.

Fun fact: Basilisks can stay underwater for 30 minutes.

So could you be able to walk on water if you had shoes shaped like this lizard's feet? Sure! But a person having an average weight of 80 kilos will have to run at a speed of around 104 km/hr!!



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