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Pythons: Pythonidae

Green Python (morelia Viridis): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: The green python is bright green in color and may have a pattern of small blue markings, sometimes forming a thin stripe down its back. It may also have a few white, yellow, and/or black scales scattered here and there on the green back. It has long straight front teeth and a long tail. Adults usually range from 4.5 to 6 feet (1.4 to 1.8 meters) in length; a few reach more than 7 feet (2.1 meters).

Geographic range: The green python lives in New Guinea and several nearby islands. A small group also makes its home on the Cape York Peninsula of far northeastern Australia.

The green python rests in branches much of the time by looping its body back and forth over a branch and drooping its head downward. (JLM Visuals. Reproduced by permission.)

Habitat: The green python, which is also known as the green tree python, lives in forests, often climbing up and through tree branches.

Diet: Although they are capable of climbing, adults usually hunt on the ground. They eat mainly rats and other rodents, although they will also feed on a bird occasionally, capturing it with their long teeth. Young snakes, in particular, eat lizards.

Behavior and reproduction: This snake rests in branches much of the time by looping its body back and forth over a branch and drooping its head downward. This pose almost looks as if someone had rolled the snake into a spiral and carefully laid it over the limb. The snake is most active at night and does the majority of its hunting then. In one of its hunting tactics, it keeps its body still while wiggling just the tip of its tail. The motion lures in lizards, which the snake attacks and kills. Females, which are usually larger than males, have up to thirty eggs at a time. The 1.6–inch (4–centimeter) eggs hatch into young snakes that are 11 to 14 inches (28 to 36 centimeters) long. Young snakes may be bright red with scattered yellow and white scales or vivid yellow with small red and white markings. They switch to green as they grow older. Once they reach three years old, the young can start having their own babies.

Green pythons and people: Some people hunt this snake for its meat.

Conservation status: This snake is not considered endangered or threatened. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesPythons: Pythonidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Black-headed Python (aspidites Melanocephalus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, PYTHONS AND PEOPLE