5 Things I Learned about the Green Tree Python (Morelia viridis)
When mature, green tree pythons spend a lot of time in trees, often resting their diamond-shaped heads over one or two coils they’ve looped over branches to create a saddle. Here are five other facts about these arboreal snakes:
- Green tree pythons start life bright yellow, red or reddish-brown, and don’t become the vibrant green color you see here until they are 6-12 months old.
- Their prehensile tail is helpful for climbing and anchoring them in trees. They’ll also drop it down and wiggle the tip, using it as a lure to attract curious prey.
- Speaking of hunting, in addition to good eyesight, green tree pythons have thermoreceptive pits in their upper lip area that let them sense the body heat of their prey.
- Green tree pythons can wrap themselves around their prey and squeeze them to suffocation. They can then swallow that prey hole.
- Green tree pythons are solitary except during mating. A female can produce a clutch of 5-35 eggs, coiling around them and using “muscular shivers” to regulate their temperature.
There’s a lot more to learn about this nonvenomous snake that can be found in Indonesia, New Guinea and Cape York in Australia. You can see this one in the Asia & Indonesia Gallery at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Nature. It’s a curious thing.
– Samantha F.