Green Tree Python temperament
Habitat setup is a key part of green tree python care, and it’s also the subject of today’s article. This care sheet applies to all green tree pythons (Morelia viridis), regardless of locality or morph. Selective breeding may have created some new morphs (color patterns) for this particular snake, but it’s still the same snake. So this care sheet will serve any GTP keeper.
This image is licensed under Creative Commons 3.0
Green Tree Python at a Glance
The picture above gives you an idea of why these snakes are so popular among hobbyists. They truly are some of the most beautiful snakes in the world. In the wild, green tree pythons tend to drape themselves over tree branches. They balance themselves perfectly with half of their coils on one side, and half on the other. In this position, they will generally sleep through much of the day.
When the sun starts to go down, the hunt is on! The green tree python is a powerful constrictor and a talented climber. It will often strike at its prey (mostly small mammals) while hanging from a branch. It can constrict and swallow the prey while hanging from its prehensile tail, which is a sight to behold. The green tree python will also descend from its perch to hunt along the ground. It is well-equipped to launch an attack from ground level, or from above.
These snakes can be found in Papua New Guinea and surrounding islands, and on several islands of Indonesia. It also occurs on the Cape York Peninsula of Australia. Note to keepers: These are areas of fairly high humidity, so keep that in mind when you set up a habitat for your green tree python.
In this lesson, we will be focusing on three important elements of the green tree python habitat. We will talk about the temperature gradient, humidity, and cage structure (including perches). This is part one of a three-part series. In this section, we will focus on cage temps:
Habitat Setup and Heating Tips
Like all snakes, the green tree python needs a thermal gradient inside its habitat. This means offering the snake a variety of temperatures, so that it can choose where it needs to be. In the wild, reptiles thermoregulate as needed to maintain all of their basic functions, such as digestion. Simply stated, they move from cooler areas to warmer areas, and back again. Your green tree python should be able to do the same thing inside its habitat. So you must heat the cage accordingly, to allow for basking areas and cooler areas.
The goal here is to achieve a background or “ambient” temperature throughout most of the cage, with a warmer area provided for basking. This allows the snake to seek the warmth, or to escape from it. And trust me … the snake knows what it needs better than you do.
We recommend that use radiant heat panels or infrared heating lamps to achieve the desired temperature. Just be sure the snake does not have direct contact with the bulb. Otherwise, it could burn itself. Heat panels are less of a concern in this regard. You’ll have to choose the right heating setup based on the type of cage you have. The most important thing is to give your green tree python a proper gradient, so it can choose the temps.
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