While Green Tree Pythons are known for spending days hanging around on tree limbs in their natural homes in the rainforests of New Guinea, Indonesia, and Australia, they are also popular reptile pets because of their diverse colors. But green tree python care is probably best for more experienced keepers.
Green Tree Pythons are reclusive snakes that can have a long lifespan and can be a rewarding pet for reptile lovers if you:
- Handle it gently and thoughtfully
- Feed it carefully
- Adhere to a strict diet
- Give it what it needs for an enclosure
If you want to own a reptile that you can handle a lot so you can show it off to your friends, then having a Green Tree Python is probably not going to be for you. However, if you like having an exotic and beautiful reptile pet that likes mostly to be left alone if its basic needs are met, then read on to learn how to care for a Green Tree Python.
Green Tree Python Size and Appearance
Python hatchlings are about eight to ten inches long at birth but will grow to over four to six feet in length. Females typically grow a little longer than the males and are generally wider than the males. Baby green tree pythons are typically yellow or red instead of green. As they mature their skin will turn into that bright green color.
An adult Green Tree Python can reach weights of between two to three and a half pounds, whether full-grown males or females. It is best to monitor your pet snake’s weight because the Green Tree Python is a slow mover and lazy as snake species go and may gain too much weight with continued feeding.
What truly makes the Green Tree Python an easily recognizable pet is:
- The triangular head
- Long snout
- Slow and easy movements
- A surprising array of colors
Several albino iterations of Green Tree Python have surfaced, each demonstrating an iridescent yellow color.
The Green Tree Python offers multiple colors, and quite a few have various displays of stunning splotches and combined color patterns of:
It is one of the qualities of a Green Tree Python that pet snake owners enjoy the most.
Green Tree Python Lifespan
If you are into a lengthy commitment with your pet snake, then the Green Tree Python is the pet for you. A few Green Tree Pythons are noted to live as long as twenty years, but most Green Tree Pythons, as with most snakes in general, live to their mid-teens with proper care and feeding. Proper green tree python care is essential if you want your snake to live many years.
Ultimately taking care of the basic needs of a Green Tree Python is no different than caring for the basic needs of any snake. Your snake requires:
- A specific temperature and humidity
- Proper dietary supplements and vitamins
While Green Tree Pythons have additional specific needs to remain healthy, properly fulfilling those needs will give you years of enjoyment.
Preventative care is an essential part of taking care of any pet. Later on, this article will discuss what you’ll need to establish a prioritized and specific health and wellness routine for your Green Tree Python. If you are still unsure, ask a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles.
The Green Tree Python is an advanced species and is a bit fragile, so you will want to provide it a chance to thrive by giving your snake the best enclosure and proper handling from you or curious friends. Also, to guarantee that you and your snake share a lot of time together, a Green Tree Python born in captivity is best.
Captive Green Tree Pythons Versus Imported
Without question, a pet owner should obtain a Green Tree Python hatched in captivity:
- The snake will be more docile and acclimated to its food sources
- The transition from one enclosure to another will not put the snake under stress
- A snake that is not travel-stressed will be better for both the snake and owner
Another reason for getting a captive python is parasitic infections. Snakes coming from the wild to your enclosure guarantee your snake will be travel-stressed and possibly stricken with parasites. Although it is possible for a captive snake to have parasites, being born in captivity minimizes the chance.
Any animal transitioning from a wild habitat to a captive state brings many things with it, such as:
- Even respiratory issues
Your pet snake is no different. Obtaining a captive Green Tree Python usually eliminates most, if not all, of these types of challenges.
Unless you look forward to handling stressed, parasitic reptiles, your best option is to pick up your Green Tree Python from a professional breeder who maintains quality care of snakes in captivity. Still, it is best to have a veterinarian specializing in reptiles give your pet snake a clean bill of health.
Green Tree Python Temperament
If you consider having a Green Tree Python for a pet, try not to heed the rumors about aggressiveness. These snakes have a reputation that is simply untrue. A Green Tree Python will respond like any snake when frightened or handled roughly, so snatching it from a branch is not wise.
Green tree pythons are however known to be a bit snippy. However, this is simply a defense mechanism and though should be taken seriously it does not necessarily mean they are aggressive. Defensive and aggressive are not exactly the same thing. I would suggest that you wear gloves when handling these snakes at least until you build some trust.
Expect them to react defensively and become aggressive when approached if each interaction with you puts them in a stressful situation. As with any pet species, the Green Tree Python has a set of handling rules you need to follow as the pet owner.
When handled correctly, your snake will allow you to hold it periodically and not shy away or bite when approached. While a Green Tree Python prefers to slither away when it feels threatened, it will do several things if it cannot flee:
- Inflate its body
- Produce a terrible odor as a safety mechanism
Although a Green Tree Python will rarely bite, you may experience a nip or two during feeding. However, if antagonized or frightened and if your snake has no means to escape and its scare tactics do not work, it will revert to its last means of defense and strike. Your best tactic is not to provoke it.
How To Properly Handle A Green Tree Python
Proper handling is one of the things you want to master when caring for the green tree python. Handling takes patience and is a vital part of Green Tree Python care because mishandling can create stress and even harm your snake.
One thing to know is that the Green Tree Python makes the perfect pet for a practiced snake owner, but it is not a pet for a first-time snake owner. The Green Tree Python is a pet that requires care from someone experienced in handling snakes.
If you want to handle your Python, you should never:
- Grab a Green Tree Python from the floor of its enclosure
- Pluck it from a branch where it rests
Remember to use slow, deliberate movements. If your snake reacts in a shy manner, remain calm and continue to use slow movements as you approach.
How to Pick Up Your Green Tree Python
Instead of removing the snake from a branch:
- Create a platform with your hand underneath the branch where the snake is resting
- Softly support the snake’s lower coils
- Allow the snake to move its body to your hand
Patience is vital when you wish to hold your snake. Once your Green Tree Python shifts from the branch to your hand, slowly raise your hand as you lift the snake off its perch. Green tree pythons are fragile snakes. Never pull them off of their branch or perch.
Eventually, the snake will reposition itself in your hand. If you are looking for a calm and curious snake to handle, then take your time and practice moving slowly. If you are at all concerned that you are doing it wrong, then stop and give your snake some alone time.
Like in this video from Snake Discovery, I would suggest building a removable branch in their enclosure. This way you won’t have to reach into the enclosure to get your green tree python into your hands.
Handling Versus Display
While your Green Tree Python will let you hold it periodically, you should avoid handling your snake frequently. Some pets thrive well in an environment when handled often, but the Green Tree Python is not one of those pets. Frequently handled green tree pythons often stress more.
Typically, you should handle your Green Tree Python only when:
- Cleaning the enclosure
- You want to engage in rare bonding moments
But a Green Tree Python is usually shy and nocturnal. It often perches on tree branches during the day and moves around at night.
For this reason, a Green Tree Python is typically considered more of a display snake than one that loves handling. If you really want a snake that you can handle quite often then unfortunately I would probably not recommend the green tree python. If you are looking for a python that you can handle often I would suggest checking out my article: 10 Best Pythons and Boas To Keep As Pets!
If you are not as concerned about constant handling but would love a beautiful snake the green tree python may still be a great choice for you. The Green Tree Python is perfect because of the multiple colors it demonstrates and is a beautiful snake to observe and care for. In a perfectly suitable enclosure, its colors and movement are mesmerizing.
Green Tree Python Diet
Proper diet is an essential aspect of green tree python care. Green Tree Pythons are carnivore predators. In their natural habitats in the trees, these arboreal snakes will consume small birds and even large rodents. As an ambush predator, a Green Tree Python in its environment uses the small end of its tail to simulate a worm to entice its prey.
Using this tactic, the Green Tree Python consumes a host of:
Animals like this are the diet of your snake in its natural habitat. The snake will eat whatever it manages to lure to it with a shake of its tapered tail, striking when the animal is close.
In captivity, the Green Tree Python’s diet depends entirely on the pet owner. No live food sources roam the enclosure unless you put them in the snake’s enclosure. If you prefer to give your snake live food, remember that live food can fight back and possibly injure your snake.
While you may want to provide your snake a variety of dietary delicacies, your best approach during mealtime for your Green Tree Python will probably be fresh-killed or frozen and thawed rodents of varying sizes. As long as you feed your snake regularly, it will get used to a diet of rodents quickly.
A lot of snake owners will use feeding tactics to lure the snake into activity. Remember that mature Green Tree Python male snakes are traditionally slender and more sedentary than most snakes. With your Green Tree Python, an overweight condition is not healthy for them.
Use the following guide for feeding your Green Tree Python:
- Juveniles require a small mouse every five to seven days
- Green Tree Pythons in their middle years need a medium-sized mouse every seven to ten days
- Older Green Tree Pythons will handle one adult rat or two mice every ten to fourteen days
Resist the urge to overfeed them. The size of the prey should depend on the size of your python. A simple rule is to feed them prey no larger than the thickest part of their body.
Snake owners often report their snakes will mistake a finger as a food source and that they have sustained a bite or two during feeding time. It is usual for your Green Tree Python to lunge at anything moving when it is time to feed. This action is food-motivated, not aggression-motivated.
When it is feeding time, consider using a pair of tweezers or tongs. Once the snake latches on to it, let go of the food source immediately. It still has some work to do to get it to its stomach.
Green Tree Pythons and Their Teeth
Before you feed your Green Tree Python by hand, consider the fact that mature Green Tree Pythons have almost one hundred very sharp teeth curved backward toward their stomach. While Pythons do not use their teeth to chew food, they use them to pull prey from their mouth into their bodies and finally to their stomach.
As a constrictor, a Green Tree Python will:
- Wrap its body around its prey
- Apply pressure until the target is dead
- Immediately after, open its mouth and use those razor-sharp teeth to consume the now-dead food source
Because a Green Tree Python jawbone is connected to ligaments instead of affixed to their skulls, they can often eat animals bigger than it is. Getting to watch a Green Tree Python consume a mammal about as big as its head is a fantastic thing to see.
But this should also serve as a warning to you to keep your fingers clear of those teeth during feeding sessions or when you move your Green Tree Python to another enclosure when it is time for clean-up duties. If bitten, the green tree python can inflict some serious damage.
Watering Your Green Tree Python
Green Tree Pythons prefer frequent rainfall conditions and warm and humid temperatures in their environment in the boughs of trees. During days of torrential downpours, the snake’s skin will get covered in water droplets.
A Green Tree Python will drink the droplets of water on its own body and droplets of rainfall collecting on the leaves during these moments. Sometimes they will lick the sides of their enclosure. Based on its tendency toward being a little lazy, the less distance a Green Tree Python has to travel for water, the better it will be for the snake.
Remember these things when supplying your enclosure with a water bowl:
- Green Tree Pythons prefer coiling around branches in the enclosure
- They are not the best climbers of trees and choose to move horizontally rather than vertically
If the bowl is sitting on the substrate, they may not come down to drink. I would suggest finding a way to elevate their watering bowl instead of keeping it on the ground.
Your python thrives in moist, humid conditions, so you will need to mist the enclosure a couple of times a day. Do not use cold water during misting. The shock of cold water against its skin will send your Green Tree Python into stress. Let the water warm to room temperature.
Green Tree Python Enclosure Size and Requirments
Getting the proper enclosure is a crucial part of green tree python care. For Green Tree Pythons and other species of branch perching snakes, it is a common misconception that the enclosure needs to be tall, but this is not the case. While Green Tree Pythons prefer to rest in the branches of a tree, their movement is horizontal from one branch to another.
It is best to choose an enclosure that is more wide than tall with a well-ventilated lid that latches securely. Like most snakes, your Green Tree Python is an escape artist. Your Green Tree Python will grow into its living quarters quickly and needs room to move. A common cause of poor respiratory conditions in most snakes is restricted movement.
I would suggest purchasing or building an enclosure that is at least 3 feet long, 3 feet wide, and two feet tall for an adult green tree python.
Since movement is essential to your snake’s health:
- Decorate your enclosure with a sufficient number of branching levels
- Allow your Green Tree Python unrestricted movement about the enclosure
Fluker has quality bend-a-branch sections you will want to consider when decorating your snake’s new home. It is best to create several layers.
Remember to park your snake’s water bowl in a place that the snake can reach by partially uncoiling from a branch. Because a Green Tree Python is sedentary it is not uncommon for it to remain in the branches rather than come down to drink. Fill the water bowl daily with non-chlorinated water.
Best Substrate For Green Tree Pythons
When choosing a substrate for your snake’s enclosure, some pet owners use readily available and inexpensive newspapers. Although an acceptable solution, there are a few drawbacks. Most newspapers today use soy-based ink that will not harm your snake, but newspapers dry out quickly.
Your Green Tree Python is not only arboreal but thrives in moist, humid environments. Using newspapers as a substrate will:
- Require far more misting sessions
- Not mask fecal odor well
Ultimately, a snake owner using newspapers will have to clean the enclosure more frequently.
One of the best substrates would be Zoo Med eco earth. Not only does this bedding give the enclosure a natural forest look, but it retains moisture better between misting sessions and helps maintain humidity. Cypress mulch is also a preferred substrate, but it does come with risks.
If kept too wet, Cypress mulch holds:
Regardless of the number of spot cleanings you do, the mulch will retain your snake’s fluids and attract gnats. The mulch can also lodge in your Green Tree Python’s teeth or gums following a food misstrike.
Substrate and Green Tree Python Reproduction
It is best to house a single snake in your enclosure unless you intend to breed them. But if you are breeding the snakes, you need to provide the female a specific area within a quality substrate where she can lay and protect the eggs.
Because a Green Tree Python will mate and lay eggs several times during the year, this is a lot of time on the substrate. During the egg-laying times, a female Green Tree Python stays down on the substrate exclusively so a quality substrate is important to her care and the care of the hatchlings.
Female Green Tree Python’s produce from fifteen to twenty-five eggs. They then coil their body around the eggs. Using small constricting movements, the female raises the temperature of the eggs ensuring proper incubation.
The incubation period usually takes around fifty days, and the female rarely moves. You will need to ensure she gets special feeding and water attention during these periods. The last thing you want during hatching is a stressed female. It is your responsibility to keep her fed and hydrated.
When they first arrive, the hatchlings will have a rainbow of colors:
It takes around six to eight months for Green Tree Pythons to adopt the brilliant green iridescent color it will display for the rest of its life.
One of the best things about Green Tree Pythons is that they do not require hiding spots. Because they are arboreal creatures, they often perch in plain sight on various levels of the branches you include in the enclosure. With this type of snake, you have more options when building the snake’s environment.
There are two different decor set-ups you can choose from:
Each has advantages and disadvantages.
For some snake owners, less is more. All you need if you go simple are:
- A few branches
- A proper substrate
- Basking perch
- Water bowl
Simple decor settings are easy to keep clean and are inexpensive. However, the resulting display may not be as appealing as many snake owners would like. While the Green Tree Python is the center of attention, too simple a view might make it appear out of place. Also, a minimalist environment may restrict movement.
On the other hand, using living fauna in your enclosure can create a naturalistic setting, which can be more visually appealing. When using living fauna to decorate the enclosure you get:
- Improved air quality
- An enriched environment
However, with moisture and live plants come gnats. Also, naturalistic settings are always more challenging to clean. Make sure to use plants that are safe for your green tree python before adding them to an enclosure.
Ideal Temperature and Humidity For Green Tree Pythons
A green tree python enclosure should have a warmer side and a cooler side. This way your green tree python can correctly regulate their temperature. The warmer side of the enclosure for a Green Tree Python should be about eighty-four to eighty-eight degrees Fahrenheit. On the warmer side, you should also provide a basking spot where they can perch and warm up their bodies. This spot can reach up to 90 degrees.
The cooler side of the enclosure should be in the high 70’s or low 80’s. Nighttime temps can drop down a bit but I would suggest always keeping temperatures above 72 degrees.
Improper temperatures can stress your snake and cause regurgitation and illness. Proper temperature very important when caring for the green tree python. I would suggest using a thermometer to keep up with daily temps.
Proper Humidity is one of the hardest aspects of green tree python care. Humidity results from warmth and moisture, and the best humidity setting for your Green Tree Python should hover between forty and seventy percent. Installing a pair of hygrometers on either side of the inside of the enclosure will help you easily determine warmth and humidity.
Maintaining proper heat and humidity in your snake enclosure may seem a daunting task. Still, there are several solutions you can use, such as:
- Reptile Foggers
- Heat lamps
- Incandescent heating
- Misting to preserve the humidity
Proper placement of heat lamps near the basking area will aid in keeping it around ninety degrees. A heating pad beneath the substrate will help control the ambient temperature of the entire enclosure. Keep at it until you establish a perfectly controlled environment.
A Green Tree Python is a more fragile snake species and requires familiar knowledge and understanding of reptiles. While the Green Tree Python is a stunningly beautiful snake to have as a pet, it is not recommended as a starter snake.
You also will want to ensure your Green Tree Python is hatched in captivity as those imported from countries such as Indonesia are often stricken with parasites and stressed from traveling. Your new snake needs to be as healthy as possible from the beginning of the journey.
But once you have established a persistent humidity and temperature and built a decor in your enclosure, all you need to do is introduce your Green Tree Python to its new home and give it time to get used to life with its new owner.