Green Tree Pythons Care Sheet, Steve Fuller
This species of snake formally know as Chondropython Viridis and now know as Chondros or Morelia Viridis are one of our planets finest snake species.
Chondros are arboreal snakes which simply means living in trees, they rarely come down to ground getting there water intake from the drops on leaves. Chondros can reach up to approximately 6 feet in length with a 3 inch girth which makes them a slender snake species ideal for wrapping themselves around branches, which they hang from when in search of food. Chondros can be temperamental snakes, especially the Biak locality but captive bred animals tend to be less aggressive ( like the Aru type ) than there wild caught cousins.
As the name Green Tree Python suggests Chondros are normally green in colour but there are exceptions to the rule and some of these different morphs are highly sort after and often highly priced. Chondro babies are quite peculiar, when hatching from the egg they are normally yellow or brownish red depending on there locality and turn green as they get older, this colour change can be dramatic usually completing by one year of age, there are exceptions where the Biak and recently discovered Kafiau island / Kofiau Island locality animals seem to break the rule.
Chondros are notoriously difficult to produce babies from as many of the conditions needed to produce captive babies are very critical, not least incubating the eggs where many serious breeders have been perfecting the technique over the last 20 - 30 years. Keeping the eggs at near 100% humidity without letting a drop of water settle on the eggs and holding the temperature constant for 50 days with little or no fluctuation can only be a great challenge for anyone, how does mum do it, in the wild, she makes small sharp movements whilst coiled round the eggs keeping them at the desired temperature, clever mum, just like mine.
A digital thermometer for sale with an external probe and a 16mm high display that can be switched to show internal or external temperature. Maximum and minimum temperatures are recorded and are recalled or reset by means of push buttons. An adhesive pad is provided which allows vertical or horizontal mounting, making it suitable for use in Vivariums. Pressing the light button switches a backlight on for a short period, allowing readings to be taken in darkness.
-C or F reading selection
-Indoor temp. range 0 to 70
-Outdoor temp. range -50 to 70
-Memories for internal and external Min/Max temperatures
-AAA battery supplied
-3m long external probe cable
There are lots of different shapes, sizes, and cage materials used and because of the High Humidity some work better than others. I like to house my adult Chondro's in a Vivarium that is 2ft x 2ft x 2ft but this is by no means the only way to do so. Cages made out of Wood after a while will tend to soak up any moisture, so this is perhaps not the ideal material to use, but can be easily worked. Laminating the inside of the cage with a water proof material works well.
Cages made out of Plastic will not degrade like wood and will last longer, they are also easy to clean and hold the humidity very well. Although plastic has a lower 'R' value compared to wood it still insulates well enough, being a good cage for housing Chondro's.
Glass cages have a poor 'R' value, but many keepers house there Chondro's in glass cages, which shows the animal and all its beauty well.
Made from one piece moulded plastic with built in adjustable vents and sliding glass doors, is suitable for most herps but is ideal for rain forest species as the moisture will not cause the vivarium to rot as with wood based vivariums. The base of the vivarium will hold water if required.
The Vivarium front is angled to allow better viewing while still maintaining as large floor area as possible.
Humidity in the cage can be achieved by spraying water every day or so. Chondros need to have a drying off period, which can only be judged on individual setup's. Spraying too often can lead to fungus and mold growing in your enviroment and spraying too little can cause bad sheds which stresses the animal out. I give my snakes a good misting in the morning and often this only needs to be done every other day, but thats how my setup's work, my neonates on the other hand are given a more humid enviroment.
The first thing about feeding adult Chondro's we should remember is to use a long pair of tongs when offering any meal. Chondro's are very sensitive to heat and your hand can easily be mistaken for a juicy meal. Ideally tongs or forceps should be long enough to keep out of striking distance. I have found the best time to offer meals is within a few hours of lights out, but many Chondro's will accept meals at any time. There are two main meals readily available at any good reptile/pet shops, being either Rats or Mice. I prefer to feed my adults defrosted Rats, which are obviously larger than mice. As a general rule I feed my Chondro's with Rats the same girth as the Snakes body, every 14 days.
Feeding baby Chondro's can at times be very frustrating. There natural food in the wild consists of baby frogs, lizards, etc. Pinkie Mice are not there natural food and it can take some work getting them to feed. Patience is a must. When they get used to the scent of pinkies, feeding becomes much easier and not so much of a challenge. I've found after about 6 meals they tend to be more akin to the scent, but may need restarting if transported to a new home. Many breeders will only let them go after they are well established and had 10 - 15 meals inside them, but that's not to say they shouldn't be sold un till this time. Keen and well versed individuals should be able to entice them to feed. There are several tricks that can be used.
Steve Fuller is a Chondro expert, and the owner of Green Tree Pythons UK.