The green tree python (Morelia viridis) is a species of snake native to Australasia.
These snakes are becoming more popular in the reptile trade, and you can now find a number of selectively bred morphs on the market. Here we will go over a few.
Please note, different areas that this snake is native to are slightly different. These localities are not morphs, but they do have some differences in color.
For a complete guide to enclosure setup, feeding, daily care and breeding,
check out my Green Tree Python Care Sheet.
Albino animals lack melanin. In green tree pythons, this means that you end up with a yellow and white animal as an adult. This is a recessive gene, and is currently the only known simple recessive gene for this species.
Unlike other commonly bred snakes like ball pythons and corn snakes, their genetics for color and pattern are still being examined.
One thing to note about albino snakes is that they are more sensitive to light. If you use a full spectrum light or provide UV to in your green tree python enclosure, it will likely spend less time basking under it.
This is because albino snakes typically have less protection from the sun. Make sure you don’t force them to be in the light to enjoy the warmest part of the enclosure.
2. High Yellow
High yellow green tree pythons are selected to retain the yellow juvenile coloration. Some of the isolated populations of green tree python were noted as carrying more of the yellow into adulthood.
These snakes were selectively bred to produce animals with mainly yellow scales.
How much yellow an individual snake displays as an adult depends on which locality its parents came from and individual genetics. Some snakes are entirely yellow, while others will have some green.
The pattern on the snake will also depend on the locality, since each one can have distinct markings along the dorsal surface. Many of this morph is bred from the most common locality in the United States, the Biak. These snakes are noted as having much more yellow in the wild. Snakes of the Biak locality are known for being more likely to bite, so be cautious when handling them.
3. High Blue
Some localities of green tree python have blue markings or even blue in their scales. with selective breeding, blue snakes can be achieved.
This is one of the few species of snake that can be blue, so high blue green tree pythons are absolutely stunning animals. They aren’t the most common, and rarely go up for sale. Since many breeders will photoshop the adult snakes, be sure to look at the animal in person if at all possible.
They can be a much stronger blue than you would expect, but most true or dark blue animals have had their colors enhanced and look very different in person. Most snakes will be either a light blue or a blue-green. This morph is typically bred from the Jayapura locality since these snakes typically have the most blue in the wild.
4. High Black/Melanistic
High black or melanistic green tree pythons are selected for a black coloring. Some localities naturally have a black aspect to their patterning.
By breeding animals with more black pigment together, you eventually end up with darker snakes. These animals can have very varied appearances. Some will have a large amount of black spotting along with the green, blue, or yellow of a typical adult green tree python.
Other lines will be darker in tone, with some verging on brown. Make sure you look at pictures of the parents if you are buying a baby. Most juveniles will look nothing like their adult coloration. You may see the spotted type refered to as mite phase. This is a name for a snake with plenty of scattered black scales. These snakes frequently lose the black scales as they age.
Localities and Juveniles
One interesting fact about these snakes is that they go through a color change at about a year of age. Most animals will be either red or yellow as hatchlings.
Some of the red babies are so dark that they look brown. This will likely not stay. While some localities do retain some yellow as adults, none currently keep the red color into adulthood. Since these snakes do change color, if you are buying a snake under a year old, you will not know for sure what it will look like as a full-grown animal.
Another thing to note is how varied the species is. There are currently 20 recognized localities that produce distinct snakes. Some may have a different color or pattern.
Some may have different tails or a different head shape. Since they are so different, it is possible that some animals called a green tree python now may actually be a separate species. Most animals available in the United States are Biak or Aru, both found in Indonesia.
Many of the localities are available if you look, but you need to be cautious. Many green tree pythons are being smuggled out of their native area by the illegal pet trade. These snakes are typically sick, injured, and scared. They do not make good pets since they associate humans with bad experiences.
Another note is that there is a completely distinct locality in Australia. While it is illegal to export snakes from the country, they have a unique line and different morphs.
The Australian locality is known for never hatching any red babies, unlike most of the other localities. If you want a specific locality, be sure you check thoroughly to make sure that you are getting your pet from an ethical breeder.
The green tree python can be found in a few special morphs and 20 localities. As the snake becomes more popular, captive bred animals should be easier to obtain.
There will likely be more morphs coming onto the market as more breeders jump in. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to leave them below.