GREEN TREE PYTHON

MORELIA VIRIDIS

Green Tree Python

The Brandywine Zoo has one green tree python female named Verdi. Verdi  was hatched at Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland, an AZA facility in Central Pennsylvania on April 25, 2015. Verdi is named after the children’s book, Verdi, about a Green Tree Python by the same name who doesn’t want to grow up and become “boring” like the adults. You can find her living in our Reptiles of Australasia habitat!

HABITAT
Moist forests from lowland to mid-montane altitudes

GEOGRAPHIC REGION AND RANGE
Mainland New Guinea, its offshore islands, in eastern Indonesia, and the northeast Cape York Peninsula of Australia

DIET
Carnivore – small mammals, insects, birds, and reptiles

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION
Adults are a brilliant green over most of their body, but juveniles may be either bright yellow, brick-red, or blue and turn green as they age.

SIZE
Average 5-7 feet, or 1.6-2.2 meters

WEIGHT
Around 1 ¾ to 2 lbs or 1.6 kg

LIFESPAN
Wild: 15–19 years
Under Human Care: 20+ years

THREATS
They are under threat in some parts of their range due to habitat destruction, the skin tradeand hunting for food. But the largest threat to them is habitat destruction, particularly in the Indonesian (western) part of New Guinea, which is being logged for pulp, paper, plywood and palm oil plantations. Indonesia has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world, and just under half of the country’s original forest cover now remains.

STATUS
Least Concern

REPRODUCTION
Oviparous – egg-laying; They will lay clutches of 6-32 eggs.
• Unlike many snakes, females exhibit some maternal care and will brood eggs, incubating them for around 50 days until they hatch.
• Juvenile snakes are either red, yellow, or blue, and go through an ontogenetic change as they mature, changing to their emerald green after a few years.

BEHAVIOR
• Their strong, prehensile tails enable them to eat upside down while hanging from a branch.
• Completely arboreal (tree dwellers). Rodents, birds and probably bats are eaten while dangling from its roost.

SOCIAL STRUCTURE
• This species is solitary, aside from breeding.
• When finding potential mates, they likely use chemical pheromones as opposed to visual cues to find mates in the dense forests.

COMMUNICATION
They are a quiet species. But they will hiss when threatened.

FUN FACTS

Almost all of what we know about their breeding is from animals in human care, as their reproduction has not been studied in the wild. 

These snakes employ disruptive coloration, which is an excellent camouflage and effects near invisibility. 

They look and behave similarly to the emerald tree boa of South America.This makes a great example of convergent evolution in which two unrelated species have evolved similar characters, while living on entirely different continents, because of the similarities of their environments.

Green tree pythons may have more than 100 teeth and their teeth can be up to 2 cm long!

What are AZA Zoos doing for Green Tree Pythons?

Currently, there are very few studies of green tree pythons in the wild, so much of what is known about these snakes is a result of breeding under human care in zoos or private collections. AZA zoos have long been leaders for propagation (breeding) of green tree pythons under human care, from developing artificial incubation to protocols for maternal care. 

Green Tree Python