The Green Tree Python is a species of tree-dwelling python native to New Guinea, various islands in Indonesia, and the northern tip of Eastern Australia (Cape York Peninsula). It also grows to about 6 ft. Green Tree Pythons are primarily arboreal snakes and inhabit jungles, bamboo thickets and monsoonal forests. One area of focus is "locality type" , which refers to the geographic area where the animal is from. There are differences between localities but much debate on exactly what they are or how to identify particular specimens. The animals from specific Islands or Island group - like Aru or Biak - are most credibly said to have true differences. Green Tree Pythons, formerly known as Chondropython viridis, are also referred to as "Chondros" by people in the reptile industry. After several taxonomic changes, taxonomists have finally settled with "Morelia viridis" as the scientific name. They are closely related to carpet pythons and hybrids have been produced - Carpet Python + Chondro Python = Carpondro.
The Green Tree Python is remarkable in several ways: one, it uses thermoreceptive labial pits to help capture its prey -usually at night, and two, it goes through a drastic ontogenetic color change between childhood and adulthood. Green Tree Python neonates can range from highlighter yellow to brick red or brown. Juvenilles are born fully developed hatched from eggs incubated by the female snake in the hollow of a tree. Females can often give birth to 12-25 eggs in a clutch. Every adult has slightly different coloration, but most are green with some variation, depending on selective breeding or locality. In addition to several designer patterns recently breeders have produced an Albino animal. While some feel they are aggressive, most animals can be handled during daylight hours with no issues.
The largest threat to Green Tree Python populations in their native habitat is deforestation. Particularly in West Papua New Guinea, which is currently occupied by Indonesia and is being logged by the Indonesian government. Many of these old growth forests in which the Green Tree Python inhabit are also common to native papuan tribes who eat the pythons.
Green Tree Pythons also compete with Carpet pythons who inhabit the same area and niche. Green Tree Pythons feed on small mammals such as rodents and sometimes reptiles. Despite many references to it in books Green Tree Pythons do not eat birds. 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. To capture their prey the pythons hold on to a branch with their prehensile tails and strike out from an s-shape position. Green Tree Pythons also have a particular way of resting in the branches of trees, as seen below they loop a coil or two over the branches in a saddle position and place their head in the middle. This trait is also common with the Emerald tree boa (Corallus caninus) of South America. This habit, along with their appearance, can lead some people to confuse the two species for each other when seen outside their natural habitat