A basilisk is thought by many to be one of the most spectacular lizards available for any reptile enthusiasts. As of today there are four known species of basilisks that exist from the tropical regions of Mexico, Central America and Northern South America. These species consist of the Brown basilisk or striped basilisk, the common basilisk, the Western basilisk or redheaded basilisk, and the Green basilisk or plumed basilisk.
The basilisk is an awesome arboreal lizard that loves to climb and swim. They require a lot of room to run, and can be quite skittish making them a little difficult to tame, although not impossible. This basilisk care sheet will touch on the basics of basilisk care and what can be done to maintain your pet basilisks health and longevity. The following care sheet is not provided by a veterinarian or a veterinarian tech. The author did not attend any veterinary technician schools. Information provided is based on years of reptile experience from a reptile enthusiast.
Choosing a pet basilisk:
If you are considering purchasing a pet basilisk lizard, also known as the Jesus lizard, it is important that you take a few minutes to examine the basilisk before you buy it. Here is a list of key points to consider when selecting a healthy .
1. Examine the basilisks body for any bruises, scars this also includes making sure that all of the basilisks limbs are in place, no missing toes, eyes or tail.
2. Examine the mouth for signs of mouth roct or any discoloration around the mouth area.
3. Take a few minutes and talk to the basilisk breeder, or pet store owner to find out the basilisks history. Find out what they have been feeding it, if it has been receiving vitamin supplements, heating and lighting, and if it is receiving any social time with humans.
4. This process should only take you a few minutes, but can go a long way for ensuring that you have selected a healthy pet basilisk.
Basilisk Cage and Housing:
When basilisk hatch, they are small and therefore only be a small enclosure. However as a basilisk matures and grows it will need a large enclosure. This is something to keep in mind when deciding whether or not they basilisk is the right pet for you. Basilisk so have lots of energy and love to run, swim and climb. A 75 gallon aquarium will be a suitable long-lasting basilisk enclosure.
It is important to never house two mature male basilisks together, as they will fight and possibly kill each other. Housing one male to one female is usually a good ratio for pet basilisks. Keep in mind it does not take much for basilisks to breed, so if you keep them together as a pair chances are they will produce eggs.
Basilisks require high humidity, between 70 and 80%. Many people find it difficult to keep their humidity levels where they need them to be. If your basilisk Cage is too well ventilated, most of the humidity will escape leaving your basilisk Cage to dry. You can often cover your cages vents with a damp cloth to help control humidity levels.
There are several options to choose from when selecting a suitable substrate for your basilisk. Maybe basilisks are best kept on newspaper or paper towels. Not only are these substrates easy to clean, but they help keep your baby basilisk from swallowing bits and pieces of bark or soil but can become impacted easily in a baby basilisk’s digestive system, causing death.
As your basilisks mature, outdoor carpeting, soil, and cypress mulch makes a great substrate. The cypress mulch is a great choice because it aids in keeping the humidity levels high in your basilisks enclosure. Basilisk are shy, so to help keep their stress levels down the shore to use lots of greenery and fake or live plants to give your basilisks plenty of objects to hide themselves behind.
Basilisks are great climbers and good swimmers. For this reason keep a large water bowl or dish with clean fresh water available for your basilisks at all times. The more branches in plants that you provide for your basilisk to climb on, the happier they will be.
Basilisk Heating and Lighting:
Providing the correct leaving and lighting for your pet basilisks is extremely important for their health and longevity. A florescent UVB bulb should be present to provide the correct UVB raise that are required to keep a basilisk healthy.
It is a good idea to have a branch underneath your UVB bulb that allows your basilisk to climb as close to the light as they feel necessary. Remember, that glass and plastics will block out the vital UVB raise that the basilisks need, so do not have these items between the light bulb itself and your pet basilisk.
When heating your basilisk Cage, the wattage of bulb that you use greatly depends on the size of the basilisk Cage. It is important to have a gradient temperature in your basilisk enclosure. The daytime temps should range between 84 and 88°F, while giving them a basking sites of 95°F.
The nighttime temperatures in your basilisk Cage should range between 75 and 80°F. If your home is colder than 75°F at night, it is a good idea to invest in nighttime lighting, or ceramic heat emitters along with undertank heat pads. Never use heat rocks for your basilisk.
Green Basilisk Food and Diet:
A basilisks staple food consists of insects. Most pet stores have crickets, meal worms, super worms, and roaches available for your basilisks. Basilisks will also eat mice Pinkie’s and fuzzies along with nightcrawler earthworms, and the occasional vegetables, fruits and greens.
It is important to supplement your basilisks diet with calcium containing vitamin D3. Dusting their crickets and roaches every other feeding as they are juveniles, to dusting only once a week as they reach full maturity.
Before considering breeding basilisks it is important to make sure that your basilisk are healthy, and that you have the means to not only incubate the eggs but take care of the babies once they hatch.
Basilisks reached sexual maturity within 18 to 24 months, so it is a good idea to not try to induce breeding before the age of one and half years old.
Basilisks breed quite easily in captivity, and will do so several times throughout the year. For optimal breeding conditions allow for 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark. Keep their humidity levels that 80%, and their temperatures in the mid-80s.
Introduce a female to male and watch to make sure there are no problems between the two. You may notice the male bobbing his head, and this may go on for quite some time before copulation. The male will proceed to grab the female by a flap of skin on the back of her head. The copulation period can last as long as 20 minutes.
In only a matter of a few short weeks before the female will began to look for a suitable place to lay her eggs. Providing a place for them lay is a good idea. Not only will it lower the stress levels of the female basilisk, but it will ensure that the eggs are laid in a proper place keeping them from drying out before you’re able to get to them.
An adult female basilisk Ken lay between eight and 18 eggs, usually averaging about 12. Eggs should be removed immediately, and placed into a circulated air incubator.
The eggs will do best in a mixture of water and vermiculite, mixed 1 to 1 ratio by weight. Place the eggs about two thirds of the way down into the vermiculite, leaving one third of the egg exposed. You may increase the humidity levels by placing a thin layer of damp sphagnum moss on top of the eggs.
The basilisk eggs should be incubated at a temperature of 84°F, with a high relative humidity especially during the first 2 to 4 weeks.
With in 8 to 10 weeks, you can expect the eggs to start hatching over a period of one to two days. The newborn hatchling basilisks will not eat for the first couple of days, but will soon start to eat small crickets and wax worms.
Posted: May 20th, 2009 under Lizards.