Question: How fast can the Jesus Lizard run on water?
The lizard is called a “Jesus Lizard” because it can run across the top of water. This is because the lizard has large hind feet with scaly fringes on the sides of the third, fourth, and fifth toes. As you can see in the photo, these fringes are pressed the toes when this lizard walks on land.
Living near water, when the lizard senses danger it heads for water, spreads the fringes and off it runs at a speed of about 5 feet (1.5 m) per second across the water’s surface.
The spread fringes increases the surface area of its feet and as it quickly slaps it feet against the water’s surface, a tiny bit of air is trapped between it feet and the water. This ever so tiny air pocket acts much like itsy-bitsy flotation devices. Even so, the lizard can only run so far, about 15 feet (4.5 m) before gravity wins and the lizard sinks.
No problem, the lizard is an excellent swimmer and can stay underwater for long periods of time.
DID YOU KNOW?
Location: Tropical rain forests of Central America, from southern Mexico to Panama
Size: 2 to 2.5 feet (61 to 76 cm) including tail
Weight: up to 7 ounces (200 g)
Miscellanies Adaptations: Can run on water, excellent swimmer and capable of staying under water for up to 30 minutes.
|Science For Every Kid: Geography|