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Dendrelaphis punctulata
Scientific classification
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassReptilia
OrderSquamata
SuborderSerpentes
FamilyColubridae
SubfamilyColubrinae
GenusDendrelaphis
SpeciesD. punctulata

The common tree snake Dendrelaphis punctulata (also called green tree snake and Australian tree snake) is a slender, large-eyed, non-venomous, diurnal snake of many parts of Australia, especially in the northern and eastern coastal areas, and into Papua New Guinea. [1], [2]

This common snake is harmless, readily recognised as it is an agile snake with a very slender body and tail. The body colour varies from green to olive-green to black, frequently pale yellow on the throat and belly but other pale colours have been noted, blue flecks are present on the flank. Eyes are larger than in most snakes. Found in a variety of habitats ranging from rainforest to woodland to urban areas where it preys on fish, frogs and small animals.

Habitat Edit

Common tree snakes live in a wide variety of habitats, including: bushland; well vegetated banks of rivers, creeks and streams; rainforest edges; eucalypt forests; heathland; and areas with trees, long grass, and lush vegetation—especially near water. [3], [4] When near water they often look for long grass in locations where they are likely to find prey, blending in with grasses while watching for prey to come to nearby rocks or banks to bask or play. They will also enter nearby house gardens that have fountains or ponds surrounded by long grass or shrubs. They are active during the day, and rest at night in hollow trees, logs, foliage, or rock crevices.

Diet Edit

Frogs, water skinks, and small reptiles and their eggs form a large part of the common tree snake's diet, but it will also eat small fish, mammals, geckos, and turtle hatchlings. [5], [6]

Distribution Edit

Dendrelaphis punctulata is common in Australia's northern tropics and eastern Australia. It is also found from the Kimberley region (Western Australia) to Cape York and Torres Strait (Queensland), extending down the east coast into New South Wales, and north into Papua New Guinea.[7], [8]

Breeding Edit

The common tree snake lays eggs — 5 to 12 elongated eggs per clutch. [9] The young snakes shed their skin about every 6 to 8 weeks to accommodate growth, and adults shed their skin every year or two. All shed their skin if they are injured. When new skin forms, the snake secretes a milky fluid between the old and new layers of skin. After about two weeks, the snake rubs its snout against a branch or something rough, and the old skin peels back and turns inside out. [10]

Handling Edit

Although common tree snakes are essentially harmless to humans, they will defend themselves by producing a horrible odour, and may bite. Sometimes when approached, the snake inflates its body and neck to make itself seem larger, a tactic sometimes used to scare prey. [11] Generally, however, tree snakes in the wild will make a quick escape when they realize someone is watching them.

External links Edit

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