The Lizard King

Attention, Nature Lovers!  Look what we found!

It pays to be observant at the Vanderbilt Beach Resort - you never know what odd creatures you might find! Look closely under shrubs and rocks and in the trees around the hotel, especially during the hot summer months, and you just might spot a small lizard that is somewhat cute in a prehistoric way!  Our small beach hotel provides a habitat for the Common Basilisk.  This lizard, which is part of the iguana family, it is not native to Naples or Southwest Florida.  Usually, the basilisk is found in Central and South American rainforests.  It was introduced some time ago to Naples where it made itself at home in our tropical climate.  

A basilisk usually lives near rivers and streams and stays close to the water so that it can escape its predators.  Interestingly, it has been nicknamed the “Jesus Christ Lizard” because it is actually able to run on water when threatened.  Although we have seen many sunning themselves near the beach and on the hotel grounds, we have never actually seen one run on Gulf of Mexico.  But we have heard that basilisks can to drop from a tree into water and sprint upright at a speed of about 5 feet per second across the water’s surface!  How do they do this?  Their long toes on their hind feet have long fringes of skin that unfurl on the surface of the water, which allows them to run across it.  We think that is pretty amazing!

So on your next vacation at the Vanderbilt Beach Resort, be sure to keep your eyes open and look around you!  You never know who you might meet!


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