The Green tree python is a nonvenomous snake native to New Guinea, islands in Indonesia, and Australia. As its name suggests, it is a bright green snake, with females slightly larger and heavier than males. The belly of these snakes is yellowish in color and some individuals may have small white markings along the back. Green tree pythons are characterized by a relatively slim body and a long tail which is about 14% of the total length. Their tail is prehensile and the hook on the end of the tail is called a caudal luring.
Green tree pythons are found in Indonesia (Misool, Salawati, Aru Islands, Schouten Islands, most of Western New Guinea), Papua New Guinea (including Normanby Island and the d'Entrecasteaux Islands) and Australia (Queensland along the east coast of the Cape York Peninsula). They live in tropical rainforests, monsoon forests, thickets of bamboo and forest margins with bushes and shrubs.
Green tree pythons are arboreal and lead a solitary life. Most of their time is spent up in trees coiled around branches. These snakes have a particular way of resting in the branches of trees; they loop a coil or two over the branches in a saddle position and place their head in the middle. Green tree pythons are primarily nocturnal hunters. They capture prey by holding onto a branch using the prehensile tail and striking out from an S-shaped position and constricting the prey. Wild specimens have also been observed wrapped around the base of small tree trunks, facing down in an ambush position, waiting for ground mammals to prey upon as they pass by. Green tree pythons may also hunt their prey on the ground using their labial pits and acute sight.
Green tree pythons are oviparous, laying 6 to 25 viable eggs per clutch. Breeding has never been recorded for these snakes in the wild, but in captivity, females incubate and protect their clutches. Incubation usually lasts from 40 to 60 days. Hatchlings are around 30-35 cm in length and can be lemon-yellow in color with broken stripes and spots of purple and brown, or orange-red. The young don't receive any parental care and become reproductively mature at 2-3 years of age.
Green tree pythons are popular among reptile enthusiasts and breeders due to the adult and juvenile colors. This has led to large numbers being illegally caught in the wild with the resulting native population decline.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Green tree python total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.
Due to their diet habits, Green tree pythons help to control populations of rodents and lizards they prey on. They also serve as food for local predators including hawks, eagles, owls, monitors, and dingoes.