Green Tree Python
The green tree python (Morelia viridis) is really a wonderfully colored constrictor snake which lives throughout tropical rain-forests of New Guinea, Cape York Peninsula in Australia, Solomon Islands as well in some islands in Indonesia. It is also found in Florida, where it is considered an invasive species, just like the Burmese python and the African rock python.
The Green tree pythons spend most of their life within the trees, climbing down only when they would like to look for a different tree.They spend much of their time coiled over branches with their head resting in the middle of the coils.
They have a slender shape and a prehensile tail which enables them to move around between the branches of trees. Their head is large and is much wider than their body. The scales around their mouth have also thermoreceptive pits to help detect prey.
This snake usually reaches a total length of around 5 to 6 ft (150 to 180 cm), but some larger females may reach up to 6,6 ft (200 cm), their size also can vary based on the place of origin.
Their weight is dependent on their nutritional status, the males can weigh about 2.4 to 3.1 lb (1,1 to 1,4 Kg) and females up to 3.5 lb (1,6 Kg). Like most snakes snake species females are slightly larger and heavier than males, and especially large specimens can weigh up to 4.9 lb or 2,2 Kg.
They are known to bite when provoked, they become easily agitated and very protective.
The males are more aggressive in the mating season and the females become more aggressive when they are protecting their eggs.
Its expected life span is normally around 2 decades while in the wild or approximately 35 years on captivity. Although the green tree pythons possess a one of a kind physical appearance they look very similar to the emerald tree boa (Corallus caninus) of South America.
The green tree python is a very popular snake species among reptile collectors and are often kept as exotic pets.
Diet / Feeding
Their diet is comprised largely of small mammals, which include rodents, as well as in some cases reptiles. This snake species, much like the emerald tree boa, it was thought to eat mainly birds, but no scientific evidence of this was found so far.
They capture their prey by holding onto a branch using the prehensile tail and striking out from an s-shaped position and constricting the prey.
This species is oviparous, and lays around 6 to 30 eggs per clutch in a tree hole or among plants, up to 24 days after the mating occurs. The breeding process has never been reported in the wild, however in captivity the eggs are always incubated and protected by the female.
After a period of 45 to 52 days the eggs hatch, the young snakes become immediately independent. The hatchlings are lemon-yellow color with stripes and spots of purple, brown, golden or orange-red. As the hatchlings mature they become green, which normally occurs between 6 to 8 months old. The species reaches sexual maturity at 2 years and has a breeding interval of 1 year. When they are young, the green tree pythons are hunted by birds of prey.
Conservation / Threats
Humans, like in many other cases are the main threat to the green tree python, mainly as a consequence of habitat destruction due to the logging industry that continues to clear out areas where they inhabit. Even so their conservation status by the IUCN is listed as "Least Concern".
Did You Know?
In colder climates some snakes "hibernate" in the winter, this is called brumation, find more snake facts for kids.