Green tree pythons are one of the most unique snakes on the planet. They are fairly similar to many other snakes, but there are very specific things that you will have to keep in mind with them.
Well, if you are looking to adopt a green tree python, then you will find everything you should know about green tree pythons below.
Green Tree Python General Information
- Green tree pythons are non-venomous.
- Green tree pythons prefer to perch on tree branches, hence their name.
- Green tree pythons are fairly sleepy snakes and don’t like to move much.
- The tail of green tree pythons is relatively long, accounting for about 14% of the total length.
- Green tree pythons usually reach lengths of 5-6 feet. Females tend to be slightly larger and heavier than males.
- The lifespan of green tree pythons is about 20 years.
Green Tree Python Enclosure
First of all, you should choose an enclosure for your green tree python.
You may go for a ready-made enclosure, or you may build an enclosure yourself. No matter which route you are willing to take, it’s important to know what kind of materials to use and how to size your snake’s cage.
Snake enclosures are commonly made from glass, plastic, or wood. More often, it’s a mix of all these materials, though you could (but really shouldn’t) build your snake’s enclosure entirely from a single material.
Which one to choose? Well, let’s talk about the good and bad sides of each of these materials.
Glass boasts a wide range of benefits:
- Glass enclosures look the best.
- Under-tank heating appliances are usually made with glass enclosures in mind.
- Glass is easy to see through.
- Glass lets heat through fairly easily.
On the other hand, glass is expensive and easy to shatter. Whether the price of glass is good or not will depend on your budget. And as for fragility, you’ll need to make sure that the cage’s furnishings are firmly in place so that your snake can’t knock them over and break the glass.
Aside from that, glass enclosures actually easily let heat and humidity out. With this in mind, a glass enclosure may not be the best option if you are living in a dry or cold area.
Plastic is basically the inverse of glass – it’s fairly cheap and strong, but plastic enclosures don’t look good, and they don’t allow you to observe the cage’s interior as easily as glass.
The biggest benefit of plastic over glass is that it’s better at retaining heat and moisture inside. If you live in a drier and colder area, this will be a big benefit for you.
Wood is a cheap and easy to find material.
Usually, wood isn’t used to build the entire snake enclosure – it’s more used for the frame to ensure rigidity. Besides, you may build the back wall of the enclosure from wood rather than glass or plastic to save money.
No matter what you do with wood, make sure not to use at in the bottom of the enclosure. Most snake tank heating appliances are designed to be placed under the tank, and the bad thing about wood is that it doesn’t let heat through as easily as plastic or glass do.
Picking the right enclosure size is crucial for green tree pythons.
Juvenile snakes can be shy, so you should pick a smaller enclosure sized around 1 by 1 by 1 foot. As your green tree python grows, you’ll need something bigger – adult green tree pythons are usually housed in around 3 x 2 x 2 feet enclosures (length x width x height).
Some people think that green tree python enclosures should be very tall since these snakes live on trees. While green tree pythons will make use of taller enclosures, you shouldn’t make your snake’s terrarium too tall – green tree pythons often climb the highest they can and stay there for a long time. This often causes dehydration since green tree pythons are reluctant to get down.
Make the enclosure shorter but wider – horizontal space is no less important for green tree pythons than vertical space. Aside from that, you’ll need to pay good attention to enclosure décor, which we’ll talk about in a moment.
It’s also important to ensure proper living conditions for your green tree python.
There are six key points to pay attention to with green tree pythons:
Unlike many other snakes that we’ve given guides for, décor is actually a necessity for green tree pythons. Décor will make life nicer for any other snake as well, but since green tree pythons are arboreal, décor is much more important to them.
Now, let’s talk about each of these variables in-depth.
Green tree pythons are native to tropical rainforests that are pretty warm. With this in mind, you should ensure a temperature gradient with around 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit (29.44-32.22 degrees Celsius) on the warm end and 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit (23.89-26.67 degrees Celsius) on the cool end.
The purpose of the temperature gradient is to allow your green tree python to thermally regulate itself as it sees fit. When feeling cold, your snake will move closer to the warm end of the enclosure, and vice versa.
How to maintain enclosure temperature?
There are various heating accessories available for snake enclosures. The most popular kinds of heating devices are under-tank heating pads. These are safe and easy to use. Avoid using heat rocks and other heating accessories that your snake may come in contact with.
To ensure the temperature gradient we’ve talked about earlier, you should place the heating pad closer to one of the enclosure’s ends. You need to position the heating pad so that the enclosure’s warm end is at 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit and the cool at 75-80 degrees.
Make use of a couple of thermometers to ensure that the enclosure temperatures are right. Aside from that, you may want to get a heating pad with a built-in thermostat – heating pads can get excessively hot, but a thermostat would prevent your heating pad from doing so.
It’s also key to maintain the room temperatures you will be putting the enclosure in. Ideally, the room should be kept at room temperature all-year-round. At room temperature, it will be easier for you to ensure proper enclosure temperatures since you will only need to think about heating.
If the temperature in the room was, say, 90 degrees, then you would also need to think about cooling to ensure the recommended temperature range.
Aside from being warm, tropical rainforests are pretty humid as well. With this in mind, you should maintain a high level of humidity – between 50% and 70% is what is usually recommended for green tree pythons.
If the humidity is too low, your snake will get dehydrated. And if the humidity is too high, your green tree python may develop all sorts of nasty diseases – including scale rot and respiratory issues – associated with excessive humidity.
Aside from that, it often rains daily where green tree pythons live. While rain isn’t essential to their health, you could occasionally simulate rain with a misting system or spray bottle. Keep in mind that the artificial rain may increase the humidity inside the enclosure, so be sure to monitor it.
Out in the wild, green tree pythons somewhat take care of their water needs by seeking out moisture after rain. With this in mind, artificial rains are a great way to keep your green tree python active and encourage it to come out of its retreat.
Make sure to allow the enclosure to dry out completely between sprayings – this will help you prevent bacterial growth in the tank.
How to maintain enclosure humidity?
You may make use of all sorts of things to increase the humidity inside the enclosure, including:
- Live vegetation.
- Mister or fogger systems.
- Room humidifiers.
- Large water dishes placed closer to the heat source to assist with evaporation.
- Closing the top of the enclosure.
Humidity is measured with a hygrometer. Make sure to monitor the humidity inside your green tree python’s cage at all times.
In some areas, you may actually need to dehumidify the room to meet the 50-70% humidity requirement. In this case, you would try to minimize the use of live vegetation, place a smaller water dish inside the enclosure, open the enclosure’s top a little wider, or run a dehumidifier.
And in drier areas, you will have to struggle to keep the humidity levels high enough.
No matter where you live, do make sure that the humidity is neither higher nor lower than the recommended 50-70% range.
The substrate is the material covering the bottom of the snake enclosure.
There are three substrate options that are very popular with snake tanks:
- Paper towels. These are cheap and easy to replace.
- Newspapers. Newspapers are again very easy to replace and cheap.
- Aspen shavings. These generally work well with snakes, and they also provide your snake with the opportunity to burrow into something. Green tree pythons may not need to burrow into anything though – what’s more important to them is some high place where they may rest.
Some snake keepers also use mulches or coconut-husk products as substrate. These are good-looking, as well as help you to ensure proper humidity levels inside the enclosure.
Avoid any kind of substrate that is going to be toxic to your snake. Among the substrate options to avoid are cedar, pine, and other substrates based on aromatic trees. These are toxic to snakes, partly because the released fumes will stay inside an enclosure vivarium.
Where green tree pythons live, the sun is up 12 hours a day. If you also happen to live in a tropical area, then you won’t have to use any kind of artificial lighting to ensure a proper day/night cycle for your green tree python.
You would just need to place the enclosure in a room that’s well-lit naturally. However, the tank shouldn’t be placed under direct heat since it will heat up. Place the snake enclosure in a shade and as close to a window as possible.
If you aren’t living in a tropical region, then you may need to use some artificial lighting to ensure a proper day/night cycle for your green tree python. This is fairly easy to do with devices called reptile timers. Any other timer that you can control artificial lights with will work as well.
Green tree pythons don’t really need UV rays to be healthy, but some people think that UV bulbs make their snakes healthier. You may give a UV bulb a try, but remember that albino snakes aren’t tolerant of UV rays.
Don’t use any lighting at night – you may disturb your green tree python’s day/night cycle. Particularly, don’t use the red bulbs that are marketed as night bulbs – your snake will see their light, and it will probably get irritated.
Green tree pythons don’t really need to hide. You should provide them with some cover, but not with a hide box as you would do with many other snakes.
Shy snakes can remain hidden and be unable to thermoregulate properly. Hidden green tree pythons may also get dehydrated or ill if they don’t get out for a long time.
Instead of a hide box, your green tree python should be provided with a retreat, which may be a semi-enclosed area on both sides of the enclosure.
Green Tree Python Enclosure Décor
As mentioned above, décor is very important for green tree pythons. They need to have a place to climb onto. Besides, a dense décor can actually provide your green tree python with some privacy, not to mention that your snake will also have additional surfaces to rub against when shedding.
Pay special attention to all kinds of branches, twigs, and perches – these will be the staple of your snake’s enclosure. Make sure to provide your green tree python with enough space for climbing.
Aside from that, make sure that the décor is firmly in its place so that your snake doesn’t knock it over and injure itself or break the enclosure.
Add any other items that are going to make the enclosure a little bit more natural. Consider rocks, backgrounds, artificial foliage, or anything else that doesn’t pose a risk to your snake.
You will also need to carefully monitor your green tree python’s feeding.
There are two key components to include in your green tree python’s diet – rodents and water. Let’s talk about these a little bit more in-depth so that you know what to expect.
Green tree pythons don’t need as much food as some other snakes.
Usually, snakes are fed once every one week or so, while the norm for green tree pythons is one meal every 10 to 12 days. Young green tree pythons should be fed weekly.
Keep in mind that green tree pythons may have decreased appetite in winter. This usually doesn’t apply to babies though. With adults, you need to keep an eye on your snake’s condition and try to offer it food every 10-12 days. Your snake may refuse to eat a couple of times, but it will get out of its fasting eventually.
Green tree pythons are also fairly sensitive to food temperature, which is an important thing to consider if you will be feeding your green tree python on frozen-thawed food.
Green tree pythons are also usually fed at night under dim room lighting. As the sun goes down, green tree pythons can become quite aggressive and at strike at any movement. You should be very careful when feeding your snake and always use tongs to serve food.
Make sure not to handle your snake before feeding since this may stress it out and decrease its appetite. Green tree pythons don’t eat much, but this doesn’t mean that they should be left without food for a long time.
When it comes to food sizing, general snake food sizing rules apply – the served rodent’s size shouldn’t exceed the girth of your green tree python. Giving too large rodents may cause regurgitation and overfeeding.
If feeding smaller prey, then you may feed your snake a little bit more often to compensate for the small food size.
Green tree pythons are usually fed on mice or small rats. It doesn’t matter which one to serve to your green tree python – what matters more is the size.
Aside from size, there’s actually one more thing to talk about in more detail. You see, snakes are generally fed on either live rodents or frozen-thawed rodents. There are no best options here, so we should talk about the good and bad sides of each approach.
Snake owners generally recommend avoiding serving live rodents to snakes. This is due to a few pretty serious reasons:
- Live rodents will certainly fight back. And your snake may take quite the beating from rodents, not to mention that larger prey may just kill your green tree python. One option here would be to pre-kill rodents before serving, but not everybody will be willing to do this.
- Live rodents are difficult to store and transport. Furthermore, if you were to breed rodents yourself, you would need to care about them no less than after your snake.
- Live feeding is associated with pain and suffering for the prey. Besides, while predation is perfectly natural, but it’s not natural when you are breeding rodents for food. As you can see, there are some ethical issues associated with live rodents.
On the other hand, your green tree python is less likely to refuse a live rodent because it will have proper temperature for your snake’s liking. As mentioned above, green tree pythons are very sensitive to food temperatures.
One could also argue that snakes should get used to live food. In the future, this would prevent any problems if you for some reason had to switch food types.
With that said, given the availability of frozen-thawed rodents and the downsides of live food, you could safely opt for frozen-thawed food and never think about switching to live rodents.
Frozen-thawed rodents are preferred by many snake owners because they don’t have the downsides of live food. Frozen rodents cannot harm your snake if stored properly, and they are also extremely easy to store and transport, which is what makes them so widely available no matter where you are.
Frozen rodents need to be thawed before serving. In fact, you better do so in warm water to ensure that your snake isn’t repelled by the low temperature of the food.
To thaw a frozen rodent in warm water, place the rodent in a plastic bag and then place the bag into the water. This procedure not only will ensure that the food is at the right temperature, but it will also actually make the thawing process quicker!
Serve water to your green tree python in a water bowl. The bowl shouldn’t be too small since your snake will occasionally wan to bathe in the water. You may want to place the water bowl in a higher location so that your snake doesn’t have to cover much distance to reach i.
Needless to say, you need to replace the water in the bowl often to make sure that it’s fresh. Ideally, you should replace the water daily – you can’t really know when your snake has bathed for the last time, and you should replace the water every day just in case.
Either use bottled spring water or dechlorinated tap water (if the tap water in your area is drinkable). Don’t use distilled water since it may lack essential minerals necessary for your snake.
If you spray the enclosure to create artificial rain, keep in mind that your snake may drink water droplets from the sides of the enclosure and its furnishing. This means that you need to be more careful with enclosure cleanness.
Green tree pythons aren’t the pickiest snakes out there, and they are relatively easy to feed. With that said, there are a few things that you should be on the lookout for when feeding your green tree python.
Since green tree pythons eat less frequently than many other snakes, it’s quite easy to overfeed them. Overfed green tree pythons will look fat and lethargic. And given that green tree pythons sometimes avoid to move at all, lethargy is a pretty dangerous thing for them since it could lead to dehydration and a wide gamut of other issues.
Snakes are overall pretty easy to overfeed since they can do well without food for weeks, but green tree pythons need less food than snakes of comparable size and weight.
As for underfeeding, it’s pretty difficult to underfeed a green tree python, partly because they don’t eat too much in the first place. With that said, it’s still possible, and if you notice that your green tree python is too skinny, you might be underfeeding it. Besides, keep in mind that weight loss may be a symptom of an underlying health issue.
Green tree pythons are prone to regurgitation like many other snakes. It’s quite easy to overload their delicate digestive systems, especially given that green tree pythons don’t eat much in the first place.
There are four common causes for regurgitation in snakes:
- Handling shortly after a meal.
- High temperatures.
- Underlying health issues.
Things are pretty easy with overfeeding – you should only give food to your snake once per week if it’s juvenile and once per 10-12 days if it’s an adult.
After having a meal, your snake shouldn’t be handled for a day or two. This is to allow the delicate digestive system of the snake to digest the food.
High temperatures could also be a cause for regurgitation, even though the tropical rainforests green tree pythons live in aren’t particularly cool.
Regurgitation can be caused by underlying health issues as well, but the bad thing about these is that it’s fairly difficult to say whether your snake has regurgitated due to some health condition or due to simple overfeeding.
After regurgitation, it is usually recommended to leave your snake alone and not to feed it for a week or so. This time frame will allow the snake to rejuvenate after regurgitation, which is a fairly taxing thing for snakes.
After a week has passed, you may try to give your snake a small portion of food. If your snake doesn’t regurgitate again, then you may return to the previous meal schedule. But if your snake does regurgitate again and if there are no reasons for it to do so, you may want to take it to a vet.
Green Tree Python Handling
Green tree pythons don’t like to move much, but this doesn’t mean that you could grab your snake out of its enclosure willy-nilly. Green tree pythons really don’t like it when you try to remove them from their perch.
The solution? You should be using the kinds of perches that you could easily remove from the enclosure. Whether you will be able to remove the perch from the tank will depend on the perch itself and its positioning. You will need to be smart about how to place the perch inside the enclosure.
When removing the perch from the enclosure, you should avoid disturbing your snake much. Once you’ve got the perch out of the tank, you may offer your hand as another perch for your snake. Allow the snake to leave its perch voluntarily. While your snake is relocating to your hand, gently support its lower coils with your other hand.
Green tree pythons tolerate handling for short periods, and they definitely aren’t as human-friendly as many other snakes. You can’t really train them for handling as you can do with other snakes. However, with gentle handling, green tree pythons will not mind you.
Make sure not to handle your green tree python the day before and after a meal. Handling before the meal may make your snake stressed and decrease its appetite, while handling after the meal may lead to regurgitation.
Green Tree Python Shedding
Like many other snakes, green tree pythons outgrow their skin as they age. And since their skin isn’t terribly flexible, they need to get rid of it to ensure unrestricted and safe growth. Baby green tree pythons shed more often since they outgrow their skin much faster than adults.
As the shed begins, your green tree python will show the common shedding symptoms – blue or milky eyes and duller skin colors. These initial symptoms will go away in a couple of days. Then, your snake will start shedding. Usually, the shed lasts around a week starting from when the symptoms appear and ending when your snake has gotten rid of the old layer of skin.
Green tree pythons normally shed their skin in one piece. If the humidity inside the enclosure has been right, then your green tree python shouldn’t have issues with shedding.
Snakes may shed more often if stressed out, injured, or unhealthy. If your green tree python has shed sooner than expected, then something may not be right.
Green tree python shedding issues
There are two common symptoms of a problematic shed:
- Patches of skin stuck to the body of the snake.
- Fragmentary shedding.
The most common reason for shedding issues is inadequate humidity inside the enclosure. If this is indeed the case, you may want to increase it temporarily to help your snake shed. Raising the humidity to 70-75% should be able to help in less severe cases.
If this still doesn’t help, then you may manually soak your green tree python in a bowl of lukewarm water. This will either help your snake shed its skin on its own, or it will allow you to remove the skin manually. Hold a damp towel and allow your green tree python to slither through it – this friction with the towel should allow the skin to come off.
Keep in mind that green tree pythons get stressed fairly easily, and bathing them isn’t the best option. Only bathe your green tree python if nothing else works.
Once your green tree python has shed, check whether it has shed its entire skin. No skin patches should remain on your snake. If there are, then you may try to carefully remove them manually. If old skin stays on, it may restrict the movements of your snake, and may even choke it or cause necrosis.
Pay attention to the eye area – the eye caps of your green tree python should also come off. If they haven’t, then remove them manually, e.g. with a piece of scotch tape turned inside out. Otherwise, the old eye caps may cause eye infection and many other dangerous health conditions.
If you cannot remove stuck skin, then your best bet would probably be to take your snake to a vet.
Green Tree Python Cleaning
Green tree pythons don’t like to move too much, and it’s generally recommended not to bathe them. Instead of attempting to bathe your snake, you should create the most convenient conditions for the snake to do it on its own.
First of all, place the water dish closer to where your snake likes to hang out – if it’s too far, your green tree python may be too lazy to take a bath. Aside from that, occasional cage spraying or spraying will somewhat have an effect of a bath as well.
Green Tree Python Enclosure Cleaning
Keeping the enclosure of your green tree python is very important since it will allow you to ensure a nice and safe environment for your snake. A dirty tank could actually become a catalyst for a wide array of health issues in your snake.
Check the enclosure daily and spot clean or remove dirty substrate. Aside from that, if your snake tends to drink water droplets from the cage’s furnishing after misting, then make sure to clean the enclosure often.
As mentioned earlier, you should allow the cage to dry out completely between each spraying to prevent bacteria and mold, but this isn’t quite enough. At least once a month, you should do a deep cleanup of your snake’s cage.
In-depth cleanups of snake enclosures are usually done with a 5% bleach solution. To do such a cleanup, remove everything from the cage, apply the solution to the cage’s interior and exterior, let it dry, rinse it out, and put everything back together.
Green Tree Python FAQ
How much do green tree pythons cost?
This depends on the morph, but usually, the price for green tree pythons starts from around $300. Some rarer morphs may cost over $1,000. Green tree pythons are more expensive than many other snake species out there.
Can you keep two green tree pythons together?
You can, but many snake owners are going to tell you that it isn’t worth it.
You will need more enclosure space to house two pythons. Besides, two green tree pythons, like many other snakes, may seem to get along well, but you may one day find one of your snakes dead.
We suggest that you house two snakes together only for breeding.