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Southern Types


Australian type :

he Australian GTP’s or ‘Aussie Greens’ are located in Iron, McIlwraith & Kawadji-Ngaachi Ranges of Cape York, Queensland.  Native Aussie GTPs have yellow hatchlings with brown markings and typically change to green at between about 7 to 11 months of age.  Adults are green and characterised by varying amounts of white scales down their dorsal (back) line. The amount of vertebral markings on both wild and captive bred


Types of Green Tree Pythons


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Main content written by A. Owen

One of the undeniable attractions of this beautiful species is the myriad of colour variations and combinations that can be seen.  Adult colouration can include various shades of blue, yellow, black, white and green, while hatchlings or neonates can range from bright yellow to brown to rich, dark red and even black.  The result is an almost endless array of different forms and stunning variety between individuals, commonly even within a clutch.
Captive Green Tree Pythons can be broken down into two categories:


  • Wild type or pure line animals (difficult to prove due to lack of records or proof of provenance)

  • Mixed locality type or crossed animals (including morphs and designer types)

Each of these categories can be further broken down based on characteristics displayed by individuals.

GTPs natural range is a small area of far North Queensland in Australia, mainland Papua New Guinea and several provences of Indonesian New Guinea.  Many of the locality types in the hobby are named after the towns in Indonesian New Guinea where the animals are exported from.  While the Indonesian government allows the farming of this species for legal export to various countries, including the USA, the Australian government does not allow the importation of them to our shores.  The truth is very few of our GTPs can be proven to be a particular locality, but by looking at factors such as colour, pattern, tail characteristics and head shape a well educated guess can be made. Animals from PNG regions are much less known in the captive pet trade as there is no legal export allowed.



International Types :


This species being found in Australia, Papua New Guinea & Indonesia often causes heated debate among reptile keepers as to why “exotic” locality types can be kept in Australia. What exactly is an ‘exotic’ species anyway? Is for example, owning a Bredli Carpet Python on the East Coast of Australia an exotic species? No because they are an Australian species, however the threat people are often concerned about with ‘exotics’ escaping, establishing and impacting native populations would be the same. As mentioned already, GTP’s occur in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia- all part of the ‘Australian continent’. Papua New Guinea was actually under Australian governance, a territory of Australia until its independence in 1975. People on mainland Australia keep Tasmanian species of reptiles without question, Tassie at its closest point is 240kms from mainland Australia, PNG at its closest point is 150kms from the mainland. There are over 50 species of reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals shared between Cape York and Papua New Guinea due to the land masses being connected until relatively recently. Due to the spread of animals, fungi and plants across the single Pleistocene landmass the now separate lands have a related biota. Why point all of this out? To put into perspective the ‘exotic GTP’ argument. Its not the same as an African Ball Python or North American Corn Snake in Australia. In fact, if a true concern is the impact of escaped captive reptiles into different ecosystems, we should encourage GTPs as captives as there’s no python species that would find it harder to survive release in any of our capital cities or basically anywhere other than the national parks of far North Queensland where they naturally occur. 


Currently, Green Tree Pythons are all classified under the one species name -Morelia viridis. It has only been in recent times that the different colour forms have become somewhat identifiable to their localities thanks to extensive fieldwork and some rare ethical, legal exportation out of Indonesia. We can assume that some of these animals came into our country by various means, some questionable but others legitimate such as through the zoo system and eventually into private hands legally. Many animals were legitamised by the 1997 NSW reptile amnesty. There are many forms here now and the focus should be on breeding what’s here and offering healthy Australian captive born GTPs for sale. Many breeders are now managing to achieve this and our websites intention is to facilitate this further.

animals can vary from almost none to a nearly complete white stripe. It appears to be more common for wild animals to possess a greater amount of white than captive bred animals. What causes this white stripe is unknown and many breeders are trying to replicate the stripe in captive bred animals.

Hatchlings don’t need, and don’t like, large cages, and if placed in a cage that is way too large it can feel insecure and stop feeding. A plastic container with a secure lid and dimensions of approximately 25 x 20 x 15 cm (L x W x H) should suffice. Paper towelling makes a good substrate that is easily changed but sphagnum moss can also be used, particularly for very young hatchlings but should be changed regularly to avoid a build-up of bacteria in the humid environment. If you don’t want to cover the whole floor with moss, use a small container of it at one end of the cage. Decoration such as plastic vine can be added to the cage to provide a bit of security for the snake. A water bowl and perch are also required.

Aru type


The Aru Islands are located south west of New Guinea.  GTPs originating from Aru can be a bluey-green or a rich, mossy shade of green. They tend to have clusters of white scales along their dorsal line, as well as scattered white scales over their sides.  Some Aru animals also show blue, particularly on their sides and belly region. They are known for having relatively short, stumpy tails. Hatchlings are yellow with brown markings.

Northern Types

Biak type


Biak Island is a small island off the Northern coast of Indonesian New Guinea. Other nearby localities including Yapen and Numfoor are sometimes refered to in herpetoculture, however for our purposes they are included here simply under the ‘Biak type’ banner.


Biak type animals are known for their motley look and variability. They are commonly olivey green in colour, often with yellow blotches over their body, including the face.  Some white 





scales may be present and black between the scales is not uncommon.  Biaks often have large bodies, long, sharp pointed tails and bulky heads with a long snout and prominent nostrils. Hatchlings can be yellow or red in colour. Biaks take longer to complete their ontogenic colour change compared to most other forms, with individuals tending to hold more yellow into maturity. Many Australian keepers follow the proven belief of overseas breeders that Biak outcrosses produce or are the link to most future designer lines.

Sorong type


GTPs from the Vogelkop Peninsula and Raja Ampat regions in western Indonesian New Guinea are commonly referred to as 'Sorong type' after the largest city in the area. Mores specific localities sometimes referred to within herpetoculture include Manokwari, Arfak, Misool, Waigeo and Salawati. Animals from these localities are similar in appearance we will include them all under the 'Sorong type' banner.


Sorong type animals are characterised by an almost unbroken blue dorsal line with blue triangle patterns on either side of the line.  Blue spots can often be seen on the animals’ sides and some white scales may be present. Their tails are generally longer and more tapered than some other types and are blue or black on the tip.   Hatchlings can be red or yellow with a dark stripe along the dorsal line. There has become a trend in Australia for any animal showing signs of blue to be labelled Sorong type (or incorrectly Sarong type). Many of these animals are in fact mixed locality and do not exihibit the characteristics of Sorong type animals.

Jayapura type :


GTPs originating from east of Nabire throughout Northern New Guinea, are commonly labelled as Jayapura type after the largest city in the region. Other localities known to herpetoculture from around the Jayapura area that are falling under the ‘Jayapura type’ banner in this section are Lereh, Cyclops Mountain and Arso.


Jayapura type animals are usually recognised by their light blue dorsal patterning which is generally more subtle when compared 







Designer Morph type :


‘Designer morph’ lines are very much in their infancy in Australia.  Several GTP keepers are working on selective breeding for a particular trait to produce some incredible looking lines of animals.


Mite Phase - High Black - Melanistic

to animals from the Vogelkop Peninsula such as Sorong type. Their green tends to be more olive; yellow is often present on the lower sides and white scales can appear over the body. Hatchlings can be either yellow or maroon.

Mixed locality/Crosses


Many of the GTPs in the Australian hobby and pet trade are of mixed locality or origin. This can be attributed to several factors including the lack of information about specific locality types until recently and the lack of animals in captivity to choose from for breeding purposes. Unfortunately all too often we see these animals labelled as a certain locality type when they are in fact a cross. This is most likely due to a combination of ignorance and the higher value placed on more pure lines. There is nothing wrong with saying a GTP is from unknown origins or mixed backgrounds.


Often you will hear breeders use the term ‘outcross’ (OC). This is usually used to describe a GTP that displays most characteristics of one locality type, but it is not from a pure line. For example, a Biak OC animal has clear and distinct Biak traits but its heritage includes some other origins.

There are now a few lines of GTPs available that produce a certain amount of black scales. We are a long way behind some of the overseas high black GTPs, but we have to start somewhere! It’s important to point out- some lines of GTPs go through a very high black ontogenetic colour change. Don’t call it too early - wait until your GTP is through its colour change & closer to 3 years of age before claiming to have a high black. Buyers, be aware of what you are buying with realistic expectations.

High Yellow :


Firstly, there has recently become a trend in Australia where some people are calling their GTPs ‘Lemon Tree’. This is a very confusing and misleading title to be giving a high yellow line in Australia because there is a well known designer morph line of GTPs in America known as ‘Lemon Tree’. The origins of this line can be read about in the book ‘The More Complete Chondro’. Australia does not have this line of ‘Lemon Tree’ GTPs. Perhaps some confusion crept in when Snake Ranch produced a beautiful high yellow animal and named him ‘Mr Lemon’. He was bred from animals bought in Australia and there was no American ‘Lemon Tree’ in this bloodline. Most high yellows in Australia are in fact Biak type. A Biak type ontogenic colour change takes much longer to complete than most of the different types. Again, buyer beware - a two or three year old Biak type may still hold a lot of yellow but is likely to turn mostly green by the time its five or six years old. There are some true high yellows being developed now, mostly from Biak type outcrosses, and with line breeding hopefully we will see some great high yellow examples sooner rather than later!

High Blue :


Many of the Northern types, such as Sorong type, have a certain amount of blue down their backs or vertebral scales. A clue to predicting the amount of blue these animals will retain after their colour change is to look at its neonate markings - the dark markings on these hatchling will turn blue. The Aru Islands types have also been reported to have certain amounts of blue, particularly on their belly and flanks. These are all naturally occurring blue animals and not designer 'high blue', like we’ve seen developed overseas.


Some gravid females take on a blue wash which increases each time time she breeds. This is referred to as 'hormonal blue' and is shown in the image (left). In many cases this leaves the female a striking blue colour overall. This is unfortunately not a genetic colour trait that will be passed on to hatchlings other than if the young females grow out to have a clutch of their own and they go on to show this visual characteristic. A hormonal blue female should not be named or marketed as a 'high blue' animal.



Rumours persist that albino GTPs are present in Australia.  Although rare, this is a naturally occurring mutation in many species.  We will have to wait and see if albino GTPs become available on the Australian market.

GTP Husbandry :

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Main content written by B.Champion

Housing :

The caging you choose for your snake can have a big influence on its health and wellbeing so it's important to get it right. It doesn’t have to be expensive but it needs to be functional and easy to maintain. Large heavily decorated cages may look fantastic but you will need to be prepared to spend a lot of time cleaning it as the warm humid conditions preferred by green tree pythons will quickly result in health problems if you don’t.

Hatchlings :


How you keep your hatchling will probably depend on how many you have. If you only have one or two then they can be easily kept in a plastic “click-clack” type of container that is placed partly on a heat mat. However if you have a large number of them the most efficient way to keep them is in a rack system, although some breeders do keep large numbers in the click-clack containers on shelves containing heat cords. The problem with many of the commercially available hatchling rack systems is that the tubs don’t have a lot of height so it is hard to put a perch in them and still have enough clearance for the snake to coil and feed properly from the perch. Home-made racks can be tailored to suit taller containers.



Hatchlings don’t need, and don’t like, large cages, and if placed in a cage that is way too large it can feel insecure and stop feeding. A plastic container with a secure lid and dimensions of approximately 25 x 20 x 15 cm (L x W x H) should suffice. Paper towelling makes a good substrate that is easily changed but sphagnum moss can also be used, particularly for very young hatchlings but should be changed regularly to avoid a build-up of bacteria in the humid environment. If you don’t want to cover the whole floor with moss, use a small container of it at one end of the cage. Decoration such as plastic vine can be added to the cage to provide a bit of security for the snake. A water bowl and perch are also required.

Perches are best made from plastic as wood tends to go mouldy in the high humidity that hatchlings require. These can be cut from plastic clothes hangers or sections of plastic trellis. A combination of the two works well by joining them together with cable ties. This type of perch allows the snake to be easily removed from the container without disturbing it, simply by lifting out the free-standing perch. Perches should run the length of the cage from hot end to cool end to allow the snake to choose a temperature that suits it.

There needs to be sufficient ventilation to prevent mould and bacteria forming in the cage but not so much that it dries out too quickly. Holes can be drilled or melted with a soldering iron into the sides of the container to provide the required air circulation.


As the hatchling increases in size it will need to be moved into a larger cage. Usually at around 9 -12 months it will need a bigger plastic tub and at around 18 months to two years it will be big enough to move into an adult size cage.


We do not recommend keeping more than one hatchling per tub.



Like juveniles, adults can also be successfully kept in a rack system, however glass fronted cages are preferable as they allow you to appreciate the beauty of these gorgeous animals. Again, there are plenty of commercially made cages available but the main requirement is that they must be resistant to water. There are PVC / plastic ones that are suitable and glass fish tanks can be used but these suffer badly from heat loss.



Most serious keepers keep their green tree pythons in banks 


which are a series of cages side by side and one on top of the other to form a “bank”. One of the most common materials used to make these cages is Melamine which is a plastic lined particle board. Water resistant varieties are available and it is also available in a range of colours or woodgrain finish. They can be DIY or custom made by a cabinet builder. It is important to seal all joints with silicon to prevent water from seeping in and eventually ruining the board, they are water resistant, not waterproof. There is also a product called Uniboard which is a recycled plastic sheet that can be use just like Melamine but has the advantage of being completely waterproof.


Most people think of green pythons and think of tall cages as they are an arboreal snake. However it’s probably better to have a wider cage than a high one as it can be difficult to heat a tall cage from top to bottom and snakes will often choose the highest perch in the cage for security reasons even though that position may not be at the ideal temperature. By having a wider rather than tall cage the snake can move along its perch to find the temperature that best suits it.



A cage for an adult green python should ideally be a minimum of 75 to 90 cm wide but anything up to 120 cm is suitable. The height should be 60 to 70 cm and the depth approximately 60cm. Remember that the bigger the cage, the harder it will be to control the environment. Ventilation can be provided by fitting commercially made vents available from hardware stores. It’s best to provide two vents, one down low and the other higher to encourage air flow. Some States have caging regulations which should always be checked to ensure that your cages comply.

There should be at least a couple of perches at different height. They can be natural timber branches or made from PVC piping. This piping can be heated with a blow torch then twisted and slightly charred to give it a less clinical look and also to give better grip for the snake. As a rough rule of thumb, the perch should be approximately as thick as the body of the snake.

Artificial plants can be used as decoration to give more security to the snake as well as making it more visually appealing. They can be tied to the perches using cable ties or glued with a hot glue stick.


A large water bowl will help keep up humidity. Glass, ceramic and stainless steel are preferable but smooth plastic is also suitable. Try not to position the water bowl directly under the perch to avoid the snake defecating in it.


Newspaper is the substrate of choice for large collections as it allows easy cleaning but does not look particularly attractive. Sphagnum moss or coco peat type products look better and also 


help keep up the humidity when sprayed, but it’s very important to change it regularly to avoid bacterial problems that will thrive in the warm damp environment.





If you’re fortunate enough to live in the far north of the county, outside cages are an option. There is nothing better than a green tree python sunning itself in the dappled light of a heavily planted outdoor aviary.






















Keeping two GTPs together in one enclosure:


Some individuals are compatible, others less so. It is not recommended to keep juveniles together because of their feeding responses to fast movement and that can result in injury or worse – cannibalism.


Yearlings can usually be kept together without any problem but they need to be accommodated in a larger enclosure and caution must be taken during feeding time to avoid both of them latching onto the same food item.


Two adult males should never be housed together as they almost certainly will engage in antagonistic behaviour towards each other. Bites from adult GTPs can inflict deep lacerations, skin tears and lot of stress.


An adult pair or two adult females can co-inhabit the same enclosure without any problems except for feeding time. Before a feeding session, you can temporarily separate them, feed them separately and then place them back into their enclosure. Alternatively, if they are some distance away from each other, they can be fed both at the same time but it’s important to observe them until they finish their meals. If one finishes earlier and goes looking for seconds, there can be a trouble. For this reason, if two GTPs are kept together in one enclosure they should be the same size.


Housing a reproductive pair together may or may not yield good results. Some will mate readily when the time and conditions are right, others, usually the males lose their libido when kept with the same female all year round. If there are no signs of interest from the resident male during expected mating time, replace him with a new male. It almost always results in immediate mating. See our breeding page for more information.





Heating  :


Along with humidity, heating is the most important aspect of successfully keeping green tree pythons. Overheat them and they can dehydrate, become ill and possibly die. Under-heat them and they may go off their food and you will almost certainly end up with respiratory problems. Heaters should always be fitted to one end of the cage to allow the snake to regulate its temperature by moving to the warm or cool side as desired.

Heat panels – One of the best ways to heat a cage for green tree pythons. They are a flat panel made from metal, plastic or ceramic that is screwed to the ceiling of the cage. They give a more even, gentle heat than something like a reflector globe, and being flat and attached to the ceiling the snake can’t coil around it and easily burn itself, but some brands in the higher wattages can still become quite hot so a protective cage is worth considering. They are reliable and should last the life of your cage but they are relatively expensive and not as easy to find as other types of heaters.

Green tree pythons prefer a daytime temperature of around 29 – 30°C. There should always be a gradient in the cage and the hot spot can be around 31°C under the heater and several 


degrees cooler at the other end of the cage. Night temperatures are best kept at around 26°C unless they are being cooled for breeding when it should be dropped to around 20°C.


Juveniles are usually kept at a constant temperature of 30°C without the night time drop for the first year of their life.


Types of heating :


There are many ways to heat a cage including light globes, heat cables, heat mats, heat panels and room heaters.


Light globes  These were once one of the most common ways to heat a cage. They were cheap, readily available and easily fitted. One of the problems with them was that the globe could blow, resulting in a cold cage, which was a particular problem if you happened to be away at the time. They also get very hot so it was important to have a small cage around the globe to prevent burns to the snake. Another problem was that the light would turn on and off 24 hours a day as the thermostat did its job which was probably a bit annoying for the snake and definitely for the keeper that had the cage in their bedroom, however the effect of this could be minimised by using a coloured globe instead of a white one. With the phasing out of incandescent globes and the increasing number of alternatives available they are used less often these days. Ceramic globes that don’t emit light can be used as a replacement for incandescent ones but these get very hot and a cage around them is absolutely essential.

Heat Cable – Most often used for hatchling racks or tubs, heat cable is available in different lengths and wattage and is a very effective way of heating your hatchlings. It is laid under one end of the tub, often set into a groove in the shelf and is a cheap and reliable way of heating a large number of tubs.


Heat mats – Used the same way as cable by placing it under one end of a cage but usually just one or two cages per mat. They are available in a large range of sizes and wattage.



As a guide your snake should weigh around 100 – 125 grams at the age of 12 months and take  3 - 4 years to reach adult size. Rats and mice are the preferred food items but chickens and quail are also sometimes used but be aware that poultry can carry a higher risk of salmonella infection for the owner and regardless of what feed you use, always practice a high level of hygiene. Defrosted frozen food is standard for most people and freezing may have the advantage of killing any internal parasites that the prey item was harbouring, which could have otherwise been passed on to the snake. The quality of the food is important and frozen rodents will decrease in their vitamin content and start to dehydrate over time, just like your steak will. You wouldn’t eat a piece of meat that was left at the back of the freezer for a couple of years and was covered in freezer burn and as dry as cardboard, so don’t feed the equivalent to your snake. Also don’t refreeze any unused food, discard it instead.



Room heater – If you have a dedicated snake room, one option is to heat the entire room with an oil filled heater. Many keepers that do this still have individual heaters in their cages and use the room heater to maintain a temperature a few degrees below what they want in the cages then the cage heater brings it up the last few degrees. This still allows a temperature gradient across the cage and decreases the need for full power in the cage that can cause it to rapidly dry out.

Temperature Control :


A thermostat is essential to maintain the desired temperature. There are three main types, on/off, pulse proportional and dimming.


On/Off - The on/off type turn the heater on when the cage gets too cold then off when it gets too hot. The cheaper ones that are readily available usually have a fairly large variation in the temperature they are maintaining, for example when set at 30°C the thermostat may turn on at 28°C then off at 32°C resulting in a 4°C variation. Accurate ones are available but they are a lot more expensive. On/off thermostats can be used for all types of heaters.



Pulse proportional - these are a much better option than the on/off type. When they turn the heater on they provide a constant supply of full power, but as the temperature approaches the desired setting they start to send pulses of electricity which decrease in duration until the temperature is reached , it will then cut out and send the occasional pulse to maintain the temperature. They hold the temperature at a very steady level and are suitable for all types of heaters except light globes as they will cause the globe to blink. This type is generally more expensive than the on/off type.


Dimming – the dimming type are the next step up, they are very accurate and work by decreasing the voltage to the heater as it gets closer to the setting. If connected to a light globe you will see the globe start to dim as it does so. They are just a little more expensive than the pulse proportional type and can be used on all types of heaters although some panel heaters and mats have been known to hum when used with them.


Several brands of thermostats are available with a day/night setting. This is a very useful feature which allows you to set a different temperature for day and night allowing you to cool them at night which is essential if you want to breed your snakes.


Some heaters can get too hot for the cage when they first turn on at full power even though you are using a thermostat. The thermostat will prevent the cage from overheating but the heater itself gets very hot. This is a particular problem with heat mats that are sitting under a tub. And if a hatchling happens to be sitting on top of the mat, which they will sometimes do, then it can easily overheat. Obviously, using a lower wattage mat will help but the other option is to put a dimmer, or rheostat, in line with the thermostat which will reduce the voltage going to the heater so that it doesn’t get so hot. It will obviously take longer to heat the tub but won’t have that initial very hot period.


Thermometers :


Thermometers are an essential piece of equipment that every keeper should have. Wall thermometers can be mounted in each cage, or a digital one can be mounted outside the cage or tub and the probe placed inside. They are best located where the snake spends most of its time.


An alternative is to use an infra-red thermometer which allows you to point it at the snake or any place in the cage to check the temperature.

Humidity :


Humidity is probably the hardest thing to get right when keeping green tree pythons and it’s critical to their health. Incorrect humidity can cause serious problems. If it’s too low you will start to see shedding problems but it can ultimately lead to kidney problems and renal failure. This is usually seen in juveniles and it looks like the rear half of the body is swollen and baggy. Affected snakes can recover if given the right conditions but it can take a couple of months to do so. A lot of experienced keepers believe that dehydration also causes, or at least contributes to, prolapsing. If the humidity is kept too high for extended periods you will start to see mould growing in the cages and ultimately fungus and body blisters on the snake as well as bacterial infections. Fungus and blisters will usually trigger the snake to go into shed and will disappear after doing so if the cage conditions are corrected. Bacterial infections will usually require antibiotics.


It’s hard to give a relative humidity figure that’s required to keep green tree pythons healthy and it really does come down to trial and error for your particular setup. The humidity is best achieved by misting the cage. Some keepers mist their snakes on a daily basis, others every few days, but how often you do it will depend on things like where you live, your caging, ventilation, the substrate you use, the room you keep them in, the weather conditions at the time, etc. There may be times when you need to mist twice a day but other times when it’s only needed twice a week. As well as misting, using a substrate such as sphagnum moss and having a large water bowl will also help maintain the humidity.


The cage should never be kept permanently wet with condensation always visible and there should always be a drying out period between sprays. Spraying in the evening is best as it encourages the snake to become active and crawl around the cage where it may drink the water droplets from the enclosure’s walls. Ideally the cage should dry out in about 10 or 12 hours and the process can be repeated again as needed. How much you spray each time is something you will learn with time as you become familiar with your setup. Hatchlings will generally require more misting than adults which can better tolerate dryer conditions.


Automated systems are available which can be programmed to mist the cage on a regular basis and keepers with large collections often use these, although some prefer the regular contact with their animals that the hand misting gives.


As well as maintaining a humid environment, it’s important to make sure the snake is hydrated. These are two different things and while the humidity will help keep the snake from drying out, it needs to ingest water as well. Both adults and juveniles will drink from a water bowl but they also like to drink from the walls of their cage and from water that collects on their bodies during spraying. Hatchlings in particular will benefit from being sprayed with lukewarm water and can drink like this for a couple of minutes. To spray them for this long in their small enclosure would flood it so by using a removable perch on a stand they can be placed on a sink and given a good prolonged gentle spray.


Another method to ensure the snake is hydrated is to feed them water injected food. Even defrosting the food item in water so that it’s fed wet rather than dry can help. This is discussed in more detail in the section on feeding.

Lighting :


Lighting can also be installed in the cage so the snake can be admired in its true colours, it also comes in handy if you want to attend to them at night. Lighting can be provided by incandescent globes, which are hard to obtain these days, compact fluorescent globes or tubes, low voltage halogen lights or LED’s. If the light is not the heat source for the cage be aware that the addition of incandescent, fluorescent or halogen lights will add extra heat that is not controlled by the thermostat and can result in overheating of the cage. LED lights are all the rage these days and are perfect for snake cages as they are small and add negligible heat to the cage. They are available as globes or in strips. Their only downside is that they can be expensive, but they should last forever.


Feeding :


How much and how often to feed your snake seems to be one of the big worries for newcomers to the hobby and most will tend to overdo it. Snakes have a very slow metabolism and in captivity, being fed on a regular basis, they can spend most of their time sitting around getting fat.







In recent times there has been a shift in the way many keepers feed their green tree pythons. Gone are the days of feeding a fairly large rat to the snake every week. An adult mouse once a week or a 70 - 80 gram rat every fortnight will keep them very healthy. Obviously it depends on the size of the snake but for a typical adult that will suffice. Leading into the breeding season and coming out of the cooling period it can pay to increase the amount fed to them which will assist them through the long period some will go without food. Some keepers prefer the small weekly feeds while others believe that a fortnightly one can encourage them to be more active as they have a longer period between feeds.

Many keepers breed their own rodents and feed freshly killed to their snakes as they believe that they are healthier for them. Unless absolutely necessary don’t feed live food to your snakes. Not only is it cruel to the rodent but they can potentially inflict damage to the snake. Likewise never leave a live rodent in the cage overnight as they have been known to have a chew on the snake. Some people claim their snake will only eat live food but with a little bit of persistence they can usually be switched to dead food quite readily. If you do breed your own rodents give them a healthy diet including commercial rat and mouse food but supplement it with cereal, vegetables and seeds etc. as this 


will ultimately benefit the snake.

Very young hatchlings should be fed a one or two day old pinky once every 5 days or 6 days. As they start to grow, increase the size of the pinky accordingly. It should only ever create a small lump in the snake, not a huge bulge. Along with dehydration, overfeeding hatchlings is a possible contributing factor to prolapse.


Getting a hatchling to start feeding can be a very frustrating and stressful time, some will feed readily after their first shed while others from the same clutch will steadfastly refuse everything offered. The trick with the reluctant feeders is persistence and variety. Try a dead, freshly killed or live pinky, scent the pinky with skink, gecko, frog, chicken, quail, duck or anything else you can think of. A bit of chicken or quail down placed on the head of the pinky is often very successful. Warm food will sometimes be taken while cold won’t. Try gently teasing the snake with the food item by giving it small taps on the body just back from the head. Try rubbing the food along the body. Shy feeders will often grab the food only to drop it time after time, don’t give up, keep trying and eventually it may hold on. As soon as it does keep very still to avoid scaring it, causing it to let go. There’s a fine line between overdoing it and stressing the snake and giving up too early. Try for a few minutes and if it shows interest but doesn’t take it, leave it alone and come back in 10 minutes and try again, this will often result in success.


When it becomes obvious that the hatchling won’t feed and it starts to lose condition you will need to assist feed it. Some breeders will start this as early as 4 weeks of age while some will wait 2 or 3 months. It’s a call that will be based on the condition and health of the snake and the weight of the snake when it hatched. It’s better to start before the snake deteriorates too much. Most hatchlings will commence voluntary feeding after a couple of assist feeds. Watching one of the available YouTube videos on assist feeding may help if you are unsure of technique.



Both juvenile and adult green tree pythons may benefit from the injection of water into the food item as it can help to keep the snake hydrated. With juveniles you may start with as little as 0.25 ml and progress up to 5 ml or more for an adult. Defrosting the food in warm water is another way to keep up the fluids. Depending on how much you drain it, the fur of a 70 gram rat can retain 4 or 5 mls of water.

Feeding juvenile green tree pythons

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