Green Tree Python

 

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Range: Australia and surrounding islands

Habitat: Dense Tropical Forests 

Natural Diet: Birds and Rodents  

Diet at Rain Forest: Rodents 

Size: 48-60"

 

RainForest Facts:  One of the most cryptic of all pythons, this arboreal hunter is at home in the trees of both Australia and the surrounding islands, including New Guinea.  

Rarely venturing far from the safety of the green rain forest canopy, this animal hunts both birds and mammals.  Known for their long teeth, used primarily to grab birds, whose feathers are loosely arranged and would be other wise difficult for a snake with shorter teeth to grab, this species of python is virtually invisible to the birds it hunts due to the amazing green and white pattern of the skin. 

As is the case with all pythons, this species lays eggs.  A large adult female may lay as many as 20 eggs in a clutch.  The babies hatch with a much brighter coloration than the parents.  This color anomaly is attributed to the fact that the babies live closer to the ground and as such need to be colored closer to the leaf litter and other naturally occurring colors closer to ground level. 

When at rest the python curls into a green mass of coils that resembles a dense patch of leaves.

This and all other pythons are constrictors, seizing their prey and throwing two or three coils around the unsuspecting victim with blinding speed.  Once the prey animal has been seized the snake squeezes each time the animal inhales, further compressing the chest cavity and preventing breathing.  Most animals quickly succumb to a lack of oxygen, usually death occurs within two to three minutes of being caught by one of natures master hunters.    As cruel as this type of death may sound it is in fact quite merciful compared to a bit from a venomous snake.  A myriad of factors comes into play when a prey item is bitten by a venomous snake.   They include, but are not limited to, the amount of venom the snake injects, the site of the bite wound, the potency of the venom by species, the size of the prey animal compared to the snake and a host of other variables.  

A prey animal that has been bitten by a copperhead may live for several minutes to as much as an hour.  In that time the prey animal is of course trying to put a great distance between itself and the snake that bit it, this creates quite a challenge for the copperhead as it now has to follow the scent trail of the bitten rodent in hopes of finding its meal!