Morelia viridis, commonly known as the green tree python, or as it is known in the herpetoculture hobby, 'chondro' (due to its former classification in the genus Chondropython) is a species of python found in New Guinea, islands in Indonesia, and Cape York Peninsula in Australia.
The species usually reaches a total length of 150–180 cm, but large females may reach 200 cm. The size also varies depending on the region of origin. The weight is highly dependent upon the nutritional status of the animal. Males can weigh about 1100-1400 g, females up to 1,600 g, although wild specimens are typically much lighter than this. Especially large specimens up to 2,200 g are invariably females, which like most snakes are slightly larger and heavier than males.
Its main habitat is typically in or near rainforest, and is primarily arboreal, residing in trees, shrubs and bushes. Occasionally it is seen on the ground. This species is not currently thought to be threatened in its natural habitat, although it remains very popular in the pet trade. Some hunting for food is known to occur in New Guinea.
The diet of these pythons consists mostly of small mammals, such as rodents, and sometimes reptiles. Prey is captured 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 and photographed wrapped around the base of small tree trunks, facing down in an ambush position, presumably waiting for ground mammals to prey upon.
Morelia viridis is oviparous, laying 1-25 viable eggs per clutch. Breeding has never been reported from the wild, however in captivity eggs are incubated and protected by the female. Hatchlings are lemon-yellow with broken stripes and spots of purple and brown, or golden or orange-red. These snakes are often bred and kept in captivity, although they are usually considered an advanced species due to their specific care requirements; once these are met, they usually thrive in captivity. I photographed the specimen below at the San Diego zoo.
This post is part of the Friday Greens meme.