Green Tree Python Care Sheet

Green Tree Pythons are one of the quickest rising stars of the hobbyist who loves collecting exotic pets. It should come as no surprise that the Green Tree Python likes to spend a lot of time in the trees. However, these snakes aren’t always green as the name suggest, because they’re a very colorful breed. They actually can come in a very broad variety of colors and different breeders will try to breed different colors to make their collection unique. You’ll find different colors in both the wild and in captivity, so depending on which color you like, it’s easy to find something that interest you.

 

However, there is only one recessive morph for the Green Tree Python, and that’s the albino. When juvenile Green Tree pythons are born, they are commonly a bright yellow color or some have been reported to be born as red or black. In rare cases, some of them have even been a dark brown color. However, as they mature to an older age, their color will adapt and change into a brighter green color. The majority of adult Green Tree Pythons are bright green but some of the adults do keep their color they were born with.

 

It’s not uncommon to find adult Green Tree pythons with bright-yellow or even to see blue green tree pythons. It’s been said that every single green tree python has their own unique color and their own unique look to them, to make it easy to tell them apart when you’re breeding them or collecting. One of the most exciting things about owning this particular brand of snake is watching the colors change over time and taking pictures as a progress meter.

 

When they were first discovered, green tree pythons didn’t get along with captivity well as it was becoming difficult to breed them. Now however, it’s becoming more common to find them in homes because breeding them has gotten easier and more successful. When you’re looking for a breeder or going to a store to buy a green tree python (we highly recommend going to a breeder), ask about the origin of the snake you’re buying. The majority of green tree pythons will come from Indonesia but there are some state side bred pythons.

 

You need to be careful when you buy green tree pythons that come from Indonesia, because they might be infected. They might be healthy at first or appear healthy on the outside, but over time, parasites will grow inside of them and could eventually end up killing the snake. It’s best to find a breeder state side because a million things can happen when a pet is being shipped half way across the world and over an ocean. A healthy hatchling will be anywhere from about 8 inches to 10 inches long. However the adult green tree pythons can catch tremendous growth spurts and will measure anywhere from 4 to 6 feet in length. Females will be on the upper end of this scale, being slightly larger than their male counterparts.

 

Also, you’ll notice that males will tend to be a bit more slender than the females to help tell them apart. If you take great care of a green tree python, it can live up to the teens usually, but some people have reported having success with green tree pythons living up to 20 or more years when in captivity.

 

Caging/Shelter

 

There are a few different housing and shelter options for the green tree python but the best option many owners have agreed upon is the cage. Not only does the cage allow you to see your pet better, but it’s great for air flow as well. Arboreal snakes are generally kept in either a cage environment or glass enclosures that have a front opening on them. Which one you pick and like will really depend on your personal preference. However, depending on the type of enclosure you pick, you may need to do some modification to help with the humidity level.

 

Most owners have said that the juvenile green tree python is a bit shy and generally hides from everything around it, so it’ll be best to start them in a very small enclosure. However, the only downfall with this is, you’ll have to eventually upgrade their enclosure and buy them a bigger one. You will be able to get away with a 1 foot by 1 foot enclosure for a baby green tree python. Just make sure that the enclosure is at least 1 foot tall. However, when they become adults, you’ll need to upgrade their enclosures as they’ll need more room.

 

For an adult green tree python, you’re going to need a minimum of 2 feet by 2 feet, but it’s highly recommended that you at least get a 3 feet by 3 feet enclosure. It should be 2 feet tall. While the enclosure should be moderately tall, most new snake owners think that a green tree python needs a large enclosure because of where they like to spend the majority of their time. It’s a large misconception for novice owners that they need a very large container, but they don’t.

 

It doesn’t really matter the overall height of the cage because the snake will make adequate due whether it’s a 2 foot tall enclosure or a 10 foot tall enclosure. What they like to do is choose the highest point in the enclosure as long as there’s some kind of sturdy perch there and rest on it. The water source will generally be in a bowl and located on the enclosure floor. One of the major problems with poor housing structure though is that if you place a green tree python too high in an overly large container, they may not come down to drink.

 

Some believe this is because the animal is lazy and some people believe that they can’t seem to find a water source when they’re in captivity if the water isn’t in close proximity. You’ll know when a green tree python is active and awake because they’ll be zipping through whatever trees or shrubbery you have provided them. They like to move around a lot and are a generally very active species. While they like to travel horizontally, you need to make sure that they can reach the ground.

 

The best general rule for a green tree python to go by is to make sure that they can reach the ground from the highest perch in the enclosure. This makes sure that they will get an adequate amount of water and won’t give up on trying to get a drink if it’s too far out of reach. It’s not uncommon to watch a green tree python zip from branch to branch slowly climbing their way to the top of the enclosure on the highest branch.

 

You have to make sure that whatever enclosure you go with has sturdy branches. When the snake likes to rest, it doesn’t exactly have the best ability in telling if a branch is sturdy or not. When they’re in the wild, they’re usually in relatively large trees, so stability isn’t much of an issue. It’s your job to make sure that whatever is located in the enclosure is sturdy enough for the snake to be on without falling. These particular snakes don’t weight a lot so it’s relatively easy to support their weight.

 

When a green tree python is resting, you’ll notice that they like to coil themselves around a perch and they’ll lay their head smack dab in the middle of the coil. Snakes generally aren’t as active in the day time but some species like to roam around in the day time. The green tree python is more of a night time explorer and will be exploring a lot more at night than it will in the day time.

 

It’s not required to have a full on jungle in your enclosure but for cosmetic reasoning, some people like to make it look as realistic as possible, just so that they have something nice to look at. To achieve this, you can consider the possibility of adding some fake plants into the enclosure as well. The only thing you have to do is make sure that any kind of surface the snake can climb is sturdy or else you might injure the snake. Fake plants won’t only make the place look nicer but it’ll also add some help to control the humidity in the enclosure.

 

Housing

 

The housing for a green tree python is relatively straight forward and they can easily be stored in a 24 by 24 inch enclosure. However for the adults, something a bit larger will be needed to suffice them. For adults, you may need to go with a 36 inch by 24 inch enclosure. The enclosure should be 2 feet tall to provide them with plenty of roaming room and to add perches. You’ll also want an enclosure that allows you to put heat panels in the roof. There are a lot of different heating panels out there, so you’ll just have to search for the one that suites your needs.

 

You’ll find that the majority of the time, a green tree python will stay perched all day and all night. You’ll need branches and textures inside of the enclosure that are at least the diameter of the snake’s body so that it can relax on. You’ll want to scatter them throughout the enclosure, such as placing one right below the heating panel (6 inches below), to give the snake a basking spot.

 

If you have baby green tree pythons, then it’s best to keep them in plastic or Rubbermaid tubs. Some people have been known to keep them in shoeboxes as well. The most common options for decorations inside the housing are plants and vines. Some people like to use what’s called Pothos plants because they’re very hardy and they aren’t toxic. Not only that, but they aren’t fragile to the light and won’t be harmed by it as well.

 

Heating/Temperature

 

During the day time, a green tree python is going to require that the temperature be moderately high because they like to bask a lot. Also, it’s required for survival and even the nighttime temperature needs to be moderately warm. There should be a heating gradient between the general vicinity of the enclosure and the basking area. You’ll want the enclosure to be in the 80s during the day and with the basking area getting up to the very low 90 degrees.

 

In the nighttime, your temperature may drop to 75 degrees but keep an eye on your snake if the temperature drops below that. However for babies, it’s recommended that you keep the temperature at 80 degrees even at night. There are numerous different methods out there for heating the snakes but they’re arboreal snakes, meaning that they’re likely to spend their time in trees or above the ground, rather than on it.

 

A green tree python isn’t very likely to benefit from placing heating pads under the tank because they never touch the ground (rarely). What you can do instead is place what are called ceramic heat emitters inside the tank. Some other cost effective options are infrared heating bulbs and basking bulbs as well. There’s really nothing better than the other, it’ll depend on your personal preference on what you want and what kind of look you want for your enclosure.

 

If you go with something such as a radiant heat panel, you should only use it with a high tech and trustworthy thermostat. You need to make sure you religiously monitor the temperature in the enclosure to ensure that the heaters are working as intended.

 

Substrate

 

The substrate used in a green tree python cage is relatively straight forward and it should be something that promotes a healthy level of humidity. However, you also want to make sure that it’s resistant to mold and fungus as well. One of the more popular choices is what’s known as reptile bark, but you can find a good cheap source of bark at about any pet store. Ask for substrate for snakes in the bark or mulch department for recommendations.

 

If you can get a hold of cypress bark, then you’ll be in business as its high quality but costs a little more on the wallet. It’s highly recommended to go with cypress if it’s available to you in your area or if you can order it online. The majority of the time, you’ll find your snake coiled among horizontal branches, as it would be nearly impossible for them to coil themselves along vertical branches and stick there. This is why the substrate doesn’t matter as much but you should add some sticks and other types of perches into the enclosure on top of the substrate.

 

Food/Water

 

This is where the majority of new owners get confused, because while they do like to drink the water that form on their coils, they still need to have some water readily available for when they become thirsty. A nice and sturdy water dish should be on the ground within reaching distance of the highest perch and the snake’s length. You’ll have to do some measurement to figure that one out.

 

Even if they don’t use the water from the bowl, it will aid in helping with the humidity and if they aren’t drinking directly from the bowl, then make sure to mist the snake to ensure that they’re getting water droplets on the coil. The problem with these types of animals is that they always have access to a steady supply of water via droplets in the rainforest. In captivity, they rely on these water droplets because that’s how they’re programmed and what they’re used to.

 

A watering schedule will vary highly based on the type of enclosure that you have provided the snake. Also, the humidity will come into play because that will determine just how many water drops are formed inside the enclosure as well. To play it safe at first, monitor your green tree python’s hydration and make sure you’re giving it access to water at least twice a day, just to be safe.

 

Just like the rainforest, you need to make sure that every area of the enclosure has some mist water droplets on them. If you want to know whether or not the humidity is at an adequate level, then all you have to do is monitor the shedding process. If the shedding is smooth and there’s not issues or left behind skin, then the humidity is probably just fine and you’re misting just fine as well.

 

As far as feeding, the green tree python will feed on a wide variety of different pray ranging from birds to small rodents. It’ll be much easier for you to feed them small rodents which are easily available at pet stores. However, in captivity, the most common option for a green tree python feeding is the common feeder mice. They’re relatively inexpensive and easy to handle, so that’s the best most common option and best option for new owners.

 

A baby green tree python however is recommended to be fed pink mouse which are small rodent like mouse creatures solely used for feeding small exotic animals. The adults however have no problem taking on a rat or an adult mouse (but you should be careful when handling these as they can bite and do carry diseases if you’re not careful).

 

The feeding schedule should vary from snake to snake but only by a few days. You should offer something of appropriate size for your snake, once every week or 10 days.

 

Shedding

 

Different owners have reported different defecation rates in their green tree pythons because this rate depends on a few different factors. This will depend on the age of the python, the gender of the snake and other factors such as the overall health as well. The females however will defecate far less than the males will and young animals will defecate more than the mature pythons.

 

You might notice that your adult will start tail hanging prior to when they start defecating. This usually isn’t a problem and just the beginning of the process. It’s a common rule that if you want to be safe, you shouldn’t feed your snake until you know they defecated from the last one. If you’re not careful though, this can result in your python being severely underfed so you need to monitor your feeding habits accordingly and make sure they’re getting the proper amount of feed.

 

It might take you some time to learn their defecation cycle, but you’ll want to wait until they do so until you feed them their next meal. It’s also important to note when they defecate because they will do this right before shedding as well. If you notice your green tree python is just sitting there for days on end and hasn’t had any kind of movement or excrete, then you might need to handle the snake. This might help the process move a long slightly quicker and even misting it more on occasion has been known to help.

 

Growing juveniles will experience shedding the most, which can be anywhere from every 6 to every 8 weeks. You’ll have to pay close attention to when they shed and monitor their cycle to ensure they’re growing healthy. However, during the adult shedding cycle, it could take several months for the shed to occur and during this time, you want to make sure that the humidity is perfect. As with most common exotic pets, you’ll notice your python exhibiting this milky like appearance right before shedding.

 

If your snake has trouble shedding, then you might need to mist more or gently apply water to the skin to help aid the process along quicker. Irregular shedding isn’t really a huge cause for alarm and it can happen sometimes but the majority of healthy snakes shed at a regular cycle without any kind of issues what so ever. If you’re noticing issues during this process, it could be the feeding pattern, the food you’re giving it or the snake could be stressed. It’s not uncommon for stressed snakes to shed irregularly.

 

Handling your green tree python regularly isn’t exactly recommended because they’re better left alone as they like to be left alone in general. They don’t like to be handled regularly so if you need to handle it to assist the shedding process, do it gently and make sure you wash your hands.