Morelia Viridis 'Green-Tree Python'

The Morelia Viridis, a.k.a. Green Tree Python is a small tree dwelling snake which can be found in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Australia. In my opinion this is one of the most beautiful snake species in the world.

Morelia Viridis - Green Tree PythonThis is a small species by python standards growing to lengths of 3-5ft with exceptional specimens growing slightly longer. There is considerable geographic variation within this species and current research strongly suggests that M viridis likely contains more than one taxon. Genetic analysis clearly demonstrates the existence to two distinct genetic lineage’s (Rawlings Donnellan 2008). These findings split M viridis into two lineage’s, separated by the Central Dividing Range in New¬†Guinea. Though both forms are variable the northern form typically exhibits the characteristic blue dorsal stripe and alternating blue triangles along the dorsum. Neonates of this form can be yellow or red. In contrast the southern form which includes Aru and the Australian population, is quite different. Southern M viridis tend to have blue pigment on the flanks and or the rostoral area. These southern animals also typically show some degree of white pigment, usually in the form of single white scales, along the dorsal surface. This population produces only yellow neonates. There are morphological differences as well in size, head structure and tail length/shape between these two groups. As it's common name implies this is an arboreal species. This species is found primarily in rainforest and forest margins.

Morelia viridis is a widely distributed Indo-Australian species. Green tree pythons range over virtually all the forested regions of New Guinea, both the Papua as well as Indonesian portions of the island. In addition to the main population on New Guinea, this species also inhabits a myriad of disjunct insular populations, both in Australia and on the adjacent islands. M viridis populations are known to occur in Aru, Biak, Misool, Salawati, Yapen, Kofiau, Numfor, Normanby and Australia.
The Australian population is confined to a small area of rainforest on the eastern coast of the Cape York Peninsula, centered around Iron Range National Park.

Morelia Viridis can be fed with small rats or with large mouse. I prefer rats because rats have more nutritional value then mouse. Make sure the prey item isn't much larger then the diameter of the snake because a prey item that is too large will prevent the snake from hanging properly on the branches.

The Tree Python can be housed in a vivarium that is 60x60x60cm. Don't make the vivarium to high because a hogh vivarium is very difficult to heat properly. One of my Tree Pythons is kept in a natural vivarium with real plants. A lot of people say it is not possible to keep a tree dwelling snake in a natural vivarium but my experience says something different. You just have to make sure you use sturdy plants that can survive a bump. I use three horizontal bracnhes which provides the snakes with three different temperature zones it can lay in. The heating can be done with a heatpanel or with a ceramic heater. For the lightning I use two 11 watt TL-lamps which are used for nano aquariums. The light spectrum is perfect for the plants and the blue light gives the vivarium a fresh look. Spraying and watering the plants needs to be done every two days, this also allows the humidity to stay hogh which is perfect for the Tree Python.

Breeding Green Tree Pythons can be considered as a challenge. This species is not easy to be provoked to reproduce. When you want to breed them make sure the female is at least 3,5 years old and at least 1,2 kilo. Like other species the male and female need to undergo a cycling period which means the temperatures have to be dropped for several months. In this case a nighttime temprature drop to 20 till 21 degrees celcius is necessary to let the male strat producing sperm en the female to start developing follicles. After a few weeks of cycling the male can be placed in the females cage. Make sure the daytime temperatue still reaches 28 till 30 degrees celcius. some Tree Pythons ca be nervous snakes so make sure you leave them alone and only disturb them to feed them or do some other cage maintenance.

If everything goes well the female starts to swell up because of the follicles and the male starts to lose interest in the female.Morelia Viridis - Green Tree Python When the follicles are large enough the female will ovulate. After this period it is important to give the female I dry nestbox where she can lay her eggs in. In the wild she will start looking for a hollow tree or a part of the tree where the branches naturally create a bask.
Females can lay 10 till 30 eggs depending on the females size. After a few weeks the eggs will hatch, the young Tree Pythons can be housed in small plastic containers with a branch. These youngsters are known to be difficult eaters so prepare yourself for a lot of patience.

Literature: The more complete chondro by Greg Maxwell

Photos used in this care sheet are not from my animals.