The entire length of Zancudo Road is lined, one side by beach and the other by the river and this tropical wonderland. It's a great place to look for "Dragons" !
One of the inhabitants of this jungle is the Common Basilisk lizard, known to every one here as the Jesus Lizard. They get their name from the incredible ability to run on water. This basilisk is so adroit on water because its feet are large and equipped with flaps of skin along the toes; when moving quickly, the lizard can cross a surface of water before sinking.
On water, it runs an average speed of 8.4 km/h (or 5.2 mph), which is just a little slower than its speed on land. Once a basilisk submerges, it continues swimming until it is sufficiently far from its pursuer—if the predator has followed past the bank. Although this lizard stays close to water to escape terrestrial predators, it swims only when necessary because some other aquatic animals would eat the basilisk if given the chance. When startled, the common basilisk escapes by speeding to the nearest edge of water—and continues sprinting. The lizard runs on only its hind legs in an erect position, holding its fore legs to its sides. The common basilisk can be distinguished from similar species within its range by its large size and the high fin-like crests down its back. Males also have high crests on their heads and tails. Both sexes are brown to olive, and have a white, cream or yellow stripe on the upper lip and a second stripe along either side of their bodies; these stripes have higher contrast in juveniles and fade as the lizards age.
The Jesus Lizard gets it's technical name from the creature of Greek Mythology that was made up of parts of a rooster, snake and a lion. It was said this creature could turn a man to stone with only it's gaze. This creature was known as the Basilisk !
The common basilisk is found throughout Central America and in northwestern
South America, usually living in low elevations, from sea level to 600 m. In Costa Rica, this basilisk can be found as high as 1,200 m in some places. The species ranges from southwestern Nicaragua to northwestern Colombia on the Pacific side, and from central Panama to northwestern Venezuela on the Atlantic side.
In Costa Rica, it is mostly found on the Pacific side of the country. The equivalent species on the Atlantic side is the green basilisk, which occupies similar habitats and has similar biology.
There are numerous places along the road here in town where the twisting and turning back channels of the mangroves are easily reached and you are sure to see these guys running across the water to keep you at a safe distance. ;)