Water Lizards

Costa Rica’s Arenal National Park has hot streams heated by the volcanism inside Mt. Arenal. We visited one, which was filled with a large form of disgusting primate (humans). We claimed a spot in the hot steam bed and started soaking. Then one of the less disgusting primates pointed out that a small lizard just ran across the water. I didn’t believe it, but I started watching, and oh wow, was he ever right. There were about five small lizards (anole-sized) lizards on sitting on the edges of the hot stream, and we found that if you patiently watched one it would often run across a 1-2 meter expanse of water on its hind legs.

These adorable little lizards were mostly brown and grayish. This one’s scale reflected the green of the leaves.

They have very long tails relative to their bodies and big toes and feet as well. The tail seems to push down and drag behind as they run. Just before they would run they would duck their heads up and down repeatedly. I suspect that they were inspecting their route over the relatively gigantic standing waves and chaotic ripples, and building a more accurate model of the water surface for their explosive dash.

I see you, too!

As far as I can tell these little ones are not in the basilisk genus, however. The famous “Jesus Christ lizard” has a big head frill and grows quite large, while these little guys were pretty small.

I stalked this one for easily 20 minutes trying to capture it running on the water. She was way to sly for that. I put the camera down for one second, and missed it.

I would love to know what they were, exactly. Young basilisks? Another genus? How many lizards run on water?