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On a sunny day the Basilisk, named after a mythical Greek character with magical powers, looks like any common lizard as it basks in the tropical forests of South and Central America. Only when startled by a predator, do you see its unearthly ability to run over the surface of water.
Nicknamed Jesus Christ lizard, the reptiles that range from 200-600 grams in weight and grow up to 3 feet in length, are able perform this seemingly impossible task, thanks to their large hind feet that have flaps between each toe. Using only these feet, with their arms to the side, the lizards are able to stay on the surface if, they sprint at a rapid pace.
Young Basilisks that are lighter, can run for as long as 10-20 meters before they sink, while older lizards last for just a few meters. Once the lizard submerges, it continues to swim at a rapid pace, until it has distanced itself from the predator. While they are excellent swimmers and have been know to stay underwater for as long as half hour, they try their best not to dive in, for lurking in the waters are always new predators looking for a yummy treat.
Besides their ability to sprint away from predators, Basilisks are also vey good camouflage artists - thanks to their color, which ranges from green to olive brown with brown stripes, allowing them to blend in, and sit undetected, for hours on end.
The basilisk is an omnivore, and will eat almost anything ranging from insects to fruits and even flowers. In the wild, their biggest predators are opossums, snakes and raptors. But these crafty little creatures have learnt to escape quite effectively, first by hiding in trees that are hanging over water and if spotted, leaping in and sprinting across like Usain Bolt - except, even he can't do it over water!