Green Tree Python Fact File
The green tree python is aptly named with their body being covered with bright green scales. Some individuals have white spots running their down back and others have blue spots on their head. Their underside is white or cream. This coloration allows them to blend in with the foliage in which they spend much of their day.
While they are not related they are similar in appearance to the Emerald tree boa which is found in South America. This is an example of convergent evolution.
Their tail is colored differently to the rest of the body usually being a bluish-grey. This is used to help them to attract predators. The tail is also prehensile and allows them to hang off of branches.
Green tree pythons have a distinct head which is large. The eye has a vertical pupil.
Males are typically longer than females. An average green tree python will measure 1.8-2.4m (6-7.75ft) long. Their weight varies between 1 and 1.4kg (2.2-3lbs).
The green tree python is a carnivore. They feed on mammals, birds and other reptiles. A main prey source is ground-dwelling rodents. They will wait on a tree branch and then strike at them as they run below. Juveniles tend to prey more on reptiles.
As a python they are non-venomous. Instead they will lure prey towards them with their tail and then strike and hold the prey with their long, curved teeth. They will then wrap around and constrict the food before swallowing it whole.
1- 1.4kg (2.2-3lbs)
Wild 20 years
Record 28 years
— AD —
Green tree pythons are found in Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. In Australia they are restricted to a small area of northern Queensland on the Cape York Penisula.
They make their home in forests and shrublands.
Breeding takes place from July to November. Males will mate with multiple females throughout the breeding season.
Following a successful mating the female will deposit 6-32 eggs in to a tree hole or among epiphytic plants. These eggs incubate for 52 days. She will wrap around her eggs to help maintain the incubation temperature until the eggs hatch.
At hatching the young will measure between 28 and 35cm (11-14in) long.
These eggs hatch with the young being noticeably different in appearance from the adults. They are colored bright yellow though a red morph also exists. This is patterned with purplish lines, bars and blotches running down the back. Often these enclose a white scale.
Within a year the juvenile green tree python will change to the adult coloration.
Sexual maturity is reached at 3 years old.
During the day the green tree python typically wraps around a branch forming a ball with their head sitting at the centre of this.
They are primarily arboreal and spend much of their time in the trees.
Predators and Threats
Juveniles face predation from birds of prey.
The main threat presented by humans is collection for the pet trade. Despite being made illegal this still occurs with collectors eager to obtain new color morphs or bloodlines.
They are also hunted by local people for food and face habitat loss and destruction.
The green tree python is a sought after pet
Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK
Swanson, S. and Parish, S., 2011. Field Guide To Australian Reptiles. 2nd ed. New South Wales: Pascal Press.
Tallowin, O., Parker, F., O'Shea, M., Hoskin, C., Couper, P. & Amey, A. 2018. Morelia viridis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T177524A21649845. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T177524A21649845.en. Downloaded on 01 November 2020.
Australia Zoo. 2020. Green Tree Python – Australia Zoo. [online] Available at: <https://www.australiazoo.com.au/wildlife/our-animals/green-python/> [Accessed 1 November 2020].
Australian Reptile Park – Wildlife Park Sydney & Animal Encounters Australia. 2020. Green Tree Python Habitat, Diet & Reproduction – Sydney. [online] Available at: <https://reptilepark.com.au/animals/reptiles/snakes/python/green-tree-python/> [Accessed 1 November 2020].\
Smithsonian's National Zoo. 2020. Green Tree Python. [online] Available at: <https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/green-tree-python> [Accessed 1 November 2020].
Seaworld.org. 2020. Green Tree Python Facts And Information | Seaworld Parks & Entertainment. [online] Available at: <https://seaworld.org/animals/facts/reptiles/green-tree-python/> [Accessed 1 November 2020].
Denver Zoo. 2020. Green Tree Python – Denver Zoo. [online] Available at: <https://denverzoo.org/animals/green-tree-python/> [Accessed 1 November 2020].