Green python

Morelia viridis

TAXONOMY

Morelia viridis Schlegel, 1872, Aru Islands, Indonesia. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Green tree python; French: Python vert; German: Grüner Baumpython.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

This is one of the most identifiable of the pythons because of its beautiful green coloration. This small python has a finely scaled head; long, straight teeth; a tented vertebral ridge; and a strongly prehensile tail. Most adults are 4.5-6 ft (1.4-1.8 cm) in length; the maximum size approaches 7.1 ft (2.2 m).

DISTRIBUTION

The green python ranges throughout New Guinea from sea level up to elevations of 6,000 ft (1,800 m). The species also occurs on nearby islands, including Aru Islands, Biak, Misool, Salawati, and Normanby Island. A small population exists in Australia on the east side of the Cape York Peninsula.

HABITAT

Green pythons are found in primary and secondary forest.

BEHAVIOR

Green pythons often exhibit caudal-luring behavior when they are hungry. They seductively wriggle the distal portion of their tails; lizards are attracted to the motion.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Youngsters feed primarily on skinks and geckos. Adults apparently feed on the ground—their diet is made up largely of terrestrial rodents. Birds are rarely consumed.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

A green python usually becomes sexually mature in its third year. Females have a larger average size than males. The eggs of this species measure about 1.6 in (4 cm) in length. Clutch size ranges up to 30 eggs. Hatchlings vary from about 11-14 in (28-36 cm) in length. Babies are very differently colored than adults; many babies are yellow, some are brick red or dark red.

CONSERVATION STATUS

This is the most widespread and common python species in New Guinea.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Indigenous people are known to eat green pythons. ♦

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment