Green Tree Python

Green Tree Python

The green tree python (Morelia viridis) is primarily located in New Guinea, but its range extends across the Torres Strait to the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia. In addition, Morelia viridis can be found in parts of Indonesia and many of the other islands around New Guinea, such as Normanby Island and the d’Entrecasteaux Islands. Closely related to the green tree python is the carpet python, and both often compete in the same ecosystems. Although unrelated, green tree pythons in captivity, photos, videos are often mistaken for the South American emerald tree boa (Corallus caninus) because of similar appearances and behaviour.


Physical Characteristics

Green tree pythons are one of the smaller species of python. They range in length from 1.2 metres to 2.1 metres. The average length of adults is 1.8 metres. Their bodies are slender, and they prefer to keep themselves loosely coiled. Adult Green tree pythons are usually a very bright and distinct shade of green. However, some individual snakes of the species can be coloured yellow or even blue. Although it is not common, some can be coloured primarily green with light blue streaks or blue, vaguely diamond shaped or triangular, splotches running horizontally down the length of the body. The snakes with blue colouring are called cyanomorphs. Others may be green but have a stripe down their back of white or yellow. Juvenile green tree snakes can be reddish or orange, but these colours fade with each molt as they approach adulthood.

Behaviour

The green tree python, as the name suggests, is primarily an arboreal species. They can also, at times, be found in shrubs and bushes. They are noted for their preference of being in a coiled position around the branches of trees with their head resting through the centre of the coil.

The diet of green tree pythons is sustained, for the most part, by small mammals, such as mice. However, they will also eat smaller reptiles. In the past, it was thought that they ate birds, but new and extensive field studies found no proof to substantiate this claim. They usually hunt at night and sleep during the day, but green tree pythons can sometimes be found active during daylight hours. This type of snake hunts by keeping hold of a branch with its lower body and striking out with its upper body in an “S” position. After a successful strike, the prey is immediately constricted until it is immobile.

Green tree snakes are oviparous, meaning that females lay eggs that develop outside the body. Eggs are laid in clutches of 1 to 25. The female tends to the eggs and protects them until the young are born.

Captivity

Green tree pythons are often kept in captivity for study, educational display, or as pets. They are considered an advanced-care species of snake because they have very specific environmental conditions that must be met. If these conditions are met, however, they will thrive and reproduce in a captive environment. Individual snakes that are captured in the wild may never become tame and may bite with only the slightest provocation. Subsequent generations bred in captivity become much more docile and have a reputation for being some of the most gentle of pet pythons. In captivity, they are usually kept in a closed terrarium environment, but with adequate ventilation. This allows for strict control of the heat and humidity inside. Temperature must be maintained in at 26.5C to 29.5C, and humidity levels must always be from 60 to 80 percent. The minimum space requirement for adult green tree snakes is 60 cubic centimetres, but a larger space is considered more ideal.


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