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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2021



Green Tree Python

Fig 1

Fig 2




















Species : Morelia viridis
Maximum Size : 1.5 m

The Green Tree Python is one of Papua New Guinea's most well known of snake species. It can be found in a variety of habitats including dry forest, swamp forest and cultivated areas.

The adult is unmistakable : the dorsal surface is bright green, or sometimes bluish, and the ventral surface pale yellow or white. A pale vertebral is generally seen. Juveniles are mostly bright yellow throughout, but in some areas may be dorsally red, orange or green. The body is muscular, and the head is short. The eyes are large with a vertical pupil, and the heat-sensing pits, with which the snake is able to detect infra-red heat from warm-blooded prey, are easily visible on the lower lip. As in other pythons, the head scales are numerous and finely granular.

Green Tree Pythons are not exclusively tree-dwellers : as shown in these images they are also quite at home on the ground. They are most likely to rest, however, amongst trees. Their diet is varied and includes lizards and small mammals.

The species is widely distributed in PNG, to elevations of 2000m. Its range also extends to the western half of New Guinea, nearby Indonesian islands, and parts of Australia's Cape York Peninsula.

Fig 1 : This 1.2 metre specimen was found at night in the middle of a rough road, adjacent to a freshwater swamp forest next to Lake Kutubu (elevation 835m), Southern Highlands Province, PNG.

Fig 2 : Note the heat-sensing pits lining the lower lip.

References : H6