Basic Equipment for an Amazon Tree Python (Morelia viridis)
Use a AX36 (for a sub adult to adult) Vivarium these come in Beech, Oak and Walnut. The extra height is required as this snake is mostly arboreal and needs lots of climbing branches and vines. As this vivarium needs to handle high humidity it is best to coat the inside with two or three coats of yacht varnish. When it is dry and no longer smells of varnish seal the inside joints with aquarium silicon sealant.
Is for viewing so a PT-2110 Sun Glo Neodymium Lamp A19/60Watt. Spot lamp Guard. The bulb needs a ceramic lamp holder such as the Komodo Ceramic Fitting.
PT-2047 Ceramic Heat Emitter Heat Wave Lamp 150W or PT-2144 Heat Glo Infra Red Lamp R20/100W (Include a guard for the heat emitter or lamp), combine this with Habistat Pulse Proportional Thermostat set for 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a PT-2465 Exo-Terra Dial Thermometer or a PT-2472 We recommend two thermometers PT-2465 place one at each end to show the cool temperature and hot end temperatures to indicate that there is a heat gradient. effect.
Aspen or beach chippings are recommended.
A water bowl will be required a Bark effect Water Bowl medium would be a good choice, use lots of plastic plants PT-3000-PT-3052 branches these will add to the décor and prevent the snake from becoming stressed, A few vines PT-3081-3082 will also help. Finally add three or four good stout branches making sure they are well fixed and cannot fall.
Green Tree Python (Chondros or Morelia viridis)
Green Tree Pythons are nocturnal (active at night) and arboreal (tree dwelling), a real gem of the rainforest. This utmost stunning species of snake is very popular among reptile hobbyists. As the name suggests, it is predominantly in green colour. Although some snakes may be yellow or blue with flecks of black, white and yellow colour. Babies are red or yellow with black and white flecks.
There geographical location range from New Guinea, Papua, Iran, Java and reaching as far as the Cape York Peninsula of Australia. With the progress of reptile industry, keeping of this snake is becoming more popular. Somewhat due to skin trade, folk medicine and hunting for food.
Green Tree Python is an arboreal snake with developed prehensile (grasping) tail which helps in movement amongst the branches. The prehensile tail, tight coil and colour of this snake are adaptations which help for life in the treetops. They spend most of the time coiled around branches with head in middle of the coil. This is its normal resting position.
These snakes have thermo-sensory pits along their lips which helps them to notice transformation in temperature. For example, if a warm blooded animal reaches within the range the python can notice the change in the temperature and same if a cold blooded animal reaches within the range. Evidences show that they sleep during the day and ground forage at night.
The Green Tree Python resembles a lot with a South American emerald tree boa (Corallus caninus). They are found in same ecological environment in their respective countries. Only thing that distinguishes the two is that the tree boas have elongated snout, bigger heads and the appearance of the head is flatter.
The python has a more compact and sculpted head. Unlike the broken line vertebral stripe of the python, the boa has ladder like vertebral markings. This could be an example of convergence between two different species in similar habitats, but remote. Distinctively it is considered to be relatives of amethystine python.
Green Tree Python is carnivorous in food habits as are other snakes. In wild they mostly feed on warm blooded animals like birds, lizards and small rodents (rabbits, mice), but in captivity are offered baby chicks and small rats. It is recommended that the item of food should not be larger than the girth of the snake. The girth denotes the widest part of the snake, that is, the middle part of the body.
Hatchling Green Tree Python should be given pinkie mice. They should be fed with appropriate size of one or two food items once a week. As they grow their food size should increase but not the quantity. As an adult, they should be offered larger rat or mouse, but their food intake can be gradually decreased to once every two or three weeks.
The female Green Tree Python breeds once a year and is oviparous, or egg-laying. The breeding season is August to December and the eggs are laid in late November to February. The female needs a nesting box for laying eggs, for this she uses either the hole in a tree or amongst tree roots on the ground.
The clutch size is between15-20 eggs, and the leathery-shelled eggs are incubated for about 39 to 65 days, depending on the temperature. The female python coils around the eggs and shivers to raise the temperature of the eggs as well as her body. Newly hatched pythons are typically lemon yellow, but sometimes are brick-red or blue. Hatchlings do not develop the adult green colouring for six to eight months.
While keeping this snake as a pet, you should construct the vivarium with more natural surroundings. This is aesthetically pleasing as well as it adds to the general condition of the snake. If the snake likes its habitat, it will show better feeding response and grows quicker.
A vivarium of 90cm length x 60cm width x 60com height is ample for an adult Green Tree Python. A large housing with natural products and branches stops the snake from becoming overweight and lethargic, other to it, enhances the quality life of the reptile. The resistance power against any viral infections is more developed and helps encounter any late life problems.
Heating and Lighting
Green tree pythons require consistently high daytime temperatures and reasonably warm night-time temperatures if expected to thrive. The ambient temperature within the enclosure should be in the upper 80´s during the day with a localized basking area that approaches (but should not exceed) 90 degrees. In the evenings, temperatures may safely drop as low as 75 degrees with no ill effects, although a few degrees warmer is recommended for younger animals.
Heat can be provided in a number of ways, however, as arboreal snakes that spend little time on the ground, under tank heating pads may be less effective with Chondros than with other species of snake. Instead, ceramic heat emitters, infra-red heat bulbs, and standard basking bulbs are highly recommended primary heat sources. A new development in herp keeping, the radiant heat panel, is also an acceptable alternative, but these devices should always be used in conjunction with a trustworthy thermostat.
Temperature should be monitored regularly with the use of at least 2 high quality thermometers. Ideally, there should be a thermometer placed on both the warmest and coolest ends of the enclosure. This will ensure that the snake has a safe range of temperatures available to it without the risk of overheating or chilling.
While Chondros do not seem to require full spectrum lighting at the level of some basking lizards and turtles, they do benefit from a regular photo-period of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. A standard fluorescent bulb will suffice however there is some merit to the idea of using low output full spectrum bulbs with these snakes. As mentioned above, UV light is not mandatory, but it may have positive psychological and behavioural effects on the animals over time.
Substrate and Furnishings
The substrate used for green tree pythons should be one that promotes healthy humidity levels, yet is resistant to mould and fungus. Commercially available reptile bark (orchid bark) is a popular choice, as are coconut husk products.
Chondros are arboreal snakes that spend most of their time coiled among horizontal branches. A variety of branches and sticks of varying diameter should be used to furnish the enclosure. Perches should be arranged in such a way to offer the snakes multiple basking options, both high and low, and both near to and far from the heat source.
The inclusion of live or plastic plants helps to maintain a natural setting for your snakes, but additionally provides security for the animals and serves as natural places for water droplets to collect after the terrarium has been misted.
Patches of sphagnum moss are highly recommended, as it will not only act to beautify the enclosure, but will function like a sponge when it gets wet, and slowly release water during the day, subsequently raising the humidity within the cage.
Water and Humidity
Water should always be made available to green tree pythons via a large, sturdy water dish. These pythons will typically drink from the water droplets that form on their coils and perches after being sprayed. However, the addition of a water bowl ensures that the animals always have access to water, and additionally, said bowl will aid in maintaining adequate humidity levels.
In the wild, Chondros live in lush tropical forests, where rain is frequent and humidity levels high. To reproduce this environment in the terrarium, regular misting of the entire contents of the enclosure with room temperature water is necessary.
The watering schedule will vary based on the type of enclosure, ambient humidity where you live, and the substrates used. Until you determine the regimen that works for your specific set-up, consider a twice a day schedule and modify it as needed.
Enough water should be sprayed that the enclosure walls, substrate, perches, and the snake itself have droplets on them. The cage contents should never become soggy, and if that becomes the case, consider spraying less often. Optimally, the substrate should be nearly dry before it is sprayed again.
The skin shedding process is a simple and effective way to gauge whether you have the humidity levels properly adjusted. If your python sheds effortlessly, and the skin comes off in a single piece, then you are doing well. However, if the snake’s skin seems to be flaking off in tiny pieces over the course of several days, you will need to increase humidity levels with more frequent misting and/or a larger water dish