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Morelia viridis, the green tree python, is a species of python found in New Guinea, islands in Indonesia, and Cape York Peninsula in Australia.

DescriptionEdit

Adults average Template:Convert in length, with a maximum length (although rare) of about 7 feet. The supralabial scales have thermoreceptive pits.[1]

A mostly arboreal species with a striking green or yellow color in adults, the color pattern on this species can vary dramatically from locality to locality. For example, the Aru local is a vivid green with a broken vertebral stripe of white or dull yellow scales, the Sorong local is a bright green with blue highlights and a solid vertical stripe, and the Kofiau local is mostly yellow with varying highlights in white or blue. Cyanomorphs (blue morphs) are also known to occur but are not considered common at this time.[1] Juveniles are polymorphic, occurring in reddish, bright yellow and orange morphs.[2]

Geographic rangeEdit

Found in Indonesia (Misool, Salawati, Aru Islands, Schouten Islands, most of Western New Guinea), Papua New Guinea (including nearby islands from sea level to 1,800 m elevation, Normanby Island and the d'Entrecasteaux Islands) and Australia (Queensland along the east coast of the Cape York Peninsula). The type locality given is "Aroe-eilanden" (Aru Islands, Indonesia).[3]

This species is sympatric with M. spilota and the two often compete in the same ecological niche.

HabitatEdit

Its main habitat is in rainforests, bushes, shrubs and trees.

ConservationEdit

The largest threat to the species is habitat destruction due to logging of forests.

BehaviorEdit

Primarily arboreal, these snakes have a particular way of resting in the branches of trees; they loop a coil or two over the branches in a saddle position and place their head in the middle. This trait is shared with the emerald tree boa, Corallus caninus, of South America. This habit, along with their appearance, has caused people to confuse the two species when seen outside their natural habitat.

FeedingEdit

The diet consists mostly of small mammals, such as rodents, and sometimes reptiles. It was thought that this snake, like the Emerald Tree Boa, ate birds however, Switak conducted field work on this issue and in examining stomach contents of more than 1,000 animals he did not find any evidence of avian prey items. Prey is captured by holding onto a branch using the prehensile tail and striking out from an s-shape position and constricting the prey.

ReproductionEdit

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Oviparous, with 1-25 viable eggs per clutch. In the wild eggs are incubated and protected by the female, often in the hollow of a tree. Hatchlings are lemon yellow with broken stripes and spots of purple and brown, or golden or orange/red. Over time the color changes as the animal matures, color of the adult depends on the locality of the animal (some taking many years to finish color change).

CaptivityEdit

These snakes are often bred and kept in captivity, although they are usually considered an advanced species. This is due to their specific care requirements, but once these are met they thrive in captivity. The second reason they are considered advanced is from wild caught individuals that often carry parasites and rarely tame down, although the majority of captive bred individuals are very docile. It was with the development of artificial incubation that this species became much more available in captivity. The most common method used was developed by Robert Worrell in the mid 1990's. It simply involved using a 50/50 ratio of vermiculite to water and just using a beverage cooler for an incubator. This combined with the focus on embryo placement allowed for a much higher hatch rate for this species in captivity. Later with Worrell's observation of ovulation allowed for the average hobbyist to determine when oviposition would take place as well as the outcome of the eggs. Green tree pythons lay their eggs roughly 40 days after ovulation with the time frame going up to a week longer when the animals are maintained in a cooler environment.

The caging for these animals is a bit more specific than the average python. As long as these requirements are met the animal becomes very low maintenance. They require a higher relative humidity (60-80%) as well as a smaller fluctuation in temperatures (80-85F/26.5-29.5C) than most. Shiloh Hawkesworth wrote an article for Reptiles Magazine "Heat Seeker" article "Heat Seeker" continuation going over these requirements. Amongst many who have kept this species, the Green Tree Python have a reputation for being a furious reptile which will bite when provoked but this is mainly limited to imported animals. Captive bred and born animals are among the most gentle of all the python species.

A care sheet for this species can be found on the Reptiles Magazine website. This "care sheet" article was written by Rico Walder and Trooper Walsh.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
  2. Cogger, H. G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. 6th edition. ISBN 1 876334 33 9
  3. McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).

5. Ron Kivit & Steven Wiseman (2005). The Green Tree Python and Emerald Tree Boa - Care, Breeding and Natural History. Kirschner & Seufer Verlag. ISBN 3-9808264-0-6.

External linksEdit

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cs:Krajta zelená de:Grüner Baumpython es:Morelia viridis fr:Python vert it:Morelia viridis nl:Groene boompython ja:ミドリニシキヘビ no:Trepyton pl:Pyton zielony pt:Pitão-verde-arborícola ru:Зелёный питон simple:Green tree python sk:Pytón zelený fi:Puupyton sv:Grön trädpyton zh-yue:綠樹蟒 zh:綠樹蟒

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