Green Tree Python, Morelia viridis
Description: These average-sized pythons can reach an adults size of two metres in length. They are completely arboreal and have a bright green colouration to camouflage themselves in the trees in which they live. To aid in their completely arboreal habits they have an extremely strong muscular body and a prehensile tail. They are nocturnal and hunt by night; they use their forked tongue and heat sensitive pits around the mouth to hunt for warm bodied prey in complete darkness. When the prey is located, it is caught with a fast strike, and is then rapidly constricted using the snake’s muscular coils. The food is then consumed head first.
Reproduction: Females lay 12 to 15 eggs, which are usually deposited within the hollow of a tree. Unusually for snakes, which often show no parental care, these snakes stay with their eggs and use contractions of the muscles to generate heat to aid in the egg’s incubation. During this time the female does not eat and she only drinks when rainwater gathers on her coils. She then carefully drinks each droplet able to be collected. The eggs hatch after approximately 65 days and the young are brightly coloured, usually yellow or red in colour. These colours then change to green as the young snake grows and develops. The young are independent upon hatching and so the mother and young soon go their separate ways.
Diet: Small mammals and birds.
Distribution: Northern Australia and Southern New Guinea.
Conservation Status: Least Concern