©Joan Lansberry 2006

(from Wikipedia)
"In European bestiaries and legends, a basilisk (from the Greek βασιλισκος basiliskos, a little king, in Latin Regulus) is a legendary reptile reputed to be king of serpents and said to have the power of causing death by a single glance. According to the Naturalis Historia of Pliny the Elder, the basilisk is a small snake that is so venomous that it leaves a wide trail of deadly venom in its wake, and its gaze is likewise lethal."

Of course this bears little relation to the real basilisks. They're not poisonous. In fact, real basilisks are nervous creatures, and do not respond well to stress. So much for that 'threatening' mythic profile. But if they do get scared, they can make a run for it as they are excellent swimmers and swift runners.

The particular basilisk I've drawn is a plumed basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons), "a species of lizard native to Latin America. Its natural range covers a swath from Mexico to Ecuador. Plumed basilisks are omnivorous and will eat insects, small mammals (such as rodents), smaller species of lizards, fruits and flowers. Their predators include raptors, opossums and snakes."


'King of serpents'??? Now if the basilisks could convince the snakes of that!