Green Tree Python (Morelia Viridis) Care – Housing & Humidity

When it comes to keeping Green Tree Pythons (GTP), probably the most important task is to keep the housing stress free and the humidity high.

GTPs are very sensible to stress and low levels of humidity since they come from very remote locations on the tropical islands of Papua New Guinea.

Here, tropical rainfalls are a common thing and in the vast jungles, the humidity rarely drops below 60°. Also, this small species of pythons usually inhabits the high canopies in dense rain forests. Here, they have almost no natural predators and are rarely subject to stress. This is why keeping the animal calm is so important.

Morelia Viridis resting on a Branch
Morelia Viridis resting on a branch

 

In this article, I am going to show you different methods and housing strategies that you can apply and choose from.


Housing

Natural Set-ups are important to ensure that your python is stress-free

An important aspect of proper housing is the stress free environment for your animal. It should include features that enable your python to life by its natural habits. This way, your python does not have to adapt.

Cage Requirements

When it comes to cage size, the most important point is that it is useful and affordable

Practical refers to the space in your home and the space the python needs to move freely. It seems to be a common opinion that a 60 * 60 * 60 cm (length * depth * height) cage is an appropriate size for almost any snake.

However, I believe that is just because most commercially available terraria have this size. In my opinion, an adult Green Tree Python should have at least a 90 * 60 * 60 cm sized home. Although your python may not move as much, it still needs space to choose from. Also, some females may get considerably larger than males and could require a larger enclosure

Contrary to popular beliefs, a GTP does not require an exceptionally high cage. It is just as appropriate to have a wide and rectangular cage! The python does not care how far it is off the ground, but only how much climbing opportunity and space it has in total.

Horizontal Cages are inmost cases more practical for the care of GTPs (source: pixabay.com)

Also, as always I suggest that you do not get a cage you cannot afford. This just means that you should not try to get a huge terrarium only to find out that you cannot manage the temperature inside. This is especially true if the pythons need differs largely from your home climate.

Make sure that you can support the pythons livestyle on your budget. Snakes are sometimes even more relaxed in confined and personal spaces where they feel safe. You should be more worried about the climate than the space!

Temperature Gradient

In Nature, there is not always a constant temperature around. Just like us, Green Tree Pythons sometimes feel the need to cool down or warm up.

To enable the animal to choose its own temperature, we must ensure that there is a temperature gradient inside the cage. This just means that there should be a heat spot where the animal can warm up on one side, and a cooler region on the other side of the cage.

This will create a gradient between the two ends where the animal can choose its own resting spot. If you want to read more on Temperature gradients and heating methods, click HERE.

Heat panels that can be attached to the ceiling are a great option to create a temperature gradient

We achieve this heat gradient by placing the heat source on one end of the cage and not in the middle. The heat source should be either in the form of a heat panel that sticks to the ceiling or an infrared light.

For more information on heat sources, visit the page “The Best Methods to Heat your Terrarium” for detailed reviews to find the right heat source for yourself!

Cage Design and Set Up

When it comes to GTP cages, it is very important that we have a natural set up that enables our pythons to climb, hide and rest on branches, just like the would in the wild.

First of all, the set up should include a variety of thick and thin branches arranged both horizontally and vertically to make sure that our python can climb and find nice resting spots.

It is advisable to use natural sticks and branches that are not completely smooth. This gives the python a natural impression and make shedding easier. Some pythons may experience difficulty shedding if they do not have the rough natural bark to rub against.

You can just get some branches from your local forest, dry and wash them, and decorate your terrarium with them. Usually, you not have to worry about parasites if you choose nice and clean branches or sticks!

You should include natural ranches, and some plant to enable you animal to climb, hide and rest!

Second, your setup should definitely include a variety of either artificial or natural plants as cover for your animal. Most pythons do not like to be exposed during the day. They prefer to be lightly covered behind a bush or some artificial leaves.

This is important to ensure that your animal is not stressed out by any people walking by its cage. Since Green Tree Pythons are arboreal, they do not necessarily need a hiding place on the ground.

Also, always have a bowl of fresh water in your cage just in case. Most green tree pythons however drink directly from the droplets of water that condense on their skin.

Many Green Tree Pythons preferably drink the water droplets from their scales, so you should also spray your animal directly (source: pixabay.com)

Cage maintenance

Fortunately, there won’t be very much to do here. I recommend spot cleaning your cage quickly every day. This basically just means checking for snake waste or skin and removing it quickly.

That way, you only have to replace the entire bedding and clean the entire cage once every six or seven months. Make sure that there is always a bowl filled with fresh water and that the sphagnum-moss or substrate is always appropriately moist.


Humidity

The humidity level is is probably the most crucial aspect, especially for beginners. Since this species of pythons comes from tropical islands, they are used to the moist environment. Consequently, they require a constantly high level of moisture around them to keep the skin healthy.

We should ensure that the humidity throughout the day ranges between 65% and 100% and that it changes only slightly over the course of the day. This will greatly improve your animals health and help it avoid shedding issues. Also, a dried out individual will automatically more stressed out and nervous.

Since GTPs are very sensible, we must make sure that we do the best we can.

If the widows have fogged up like this, you have reached a perfect level of humidity and can let them dry off now.

However, it is not important to keep track of the exact humidity value and start freaking out all the time when it drops slightly.

Instead, we want to simulate the natural conditions from the wild. Usually, there are heavy rainfalls in the morning and evening and drier period during the day.  At night, due to lower temperatures, the humidity will rise again.

We can simulate this type daily structure by raising the humidity in the morning and again towards the night. During the day, the cage gets a chance to dry off slightly.

A great clue are the windows; after your morning mist, they should be completely fogged up and hardly transparent. Until lunchtime, they should dry off and become transparent again. Lastly, in the evening, you should mist again, but only about half the amount from the morning.

Of course, everybodies local climate is different so you need to try out which works best for you.

Methods to ensure a moist environment

There are several great methods to control the humidity inside your cage. These include, but are by far not limited to, spraying by hand, automatic sprayers and humidifiers.

Before you choose, you should be aware of your environment. Things like air conditioners can dry out a room fairly quickly while natural plants help stabilizing a moist surrounding. All of these methods have both advantages and disadvantages. To see the full description and choose which one is best for you, click HERE!

 


I hope you found this post helpful and enjoyed reading about the care for Morelia Viridis! For more information on this topic, let me know by email what posts you would like to see. For questions on my sources, visit “My Sources”.

The main source for this post was “Morelia Viridis – Das Kompendium” by Greg Maxwell. This book is definitely the #1 guide to keeping GTPs healthy. If you want to have a look, click HERE.

As always, feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly via email with your questions!

4 Replies to “Green Tree Python (Morelia Viridis) Care – Housing & Humidity”

  1. Thanks for this very educational article about green tree snakes. I did not know that they come from the tropics of Papua New Guinea.
    It never occurred to me that smooth branches are not ideal because rough branches are better to help with shedding.
    Great tips. I was just wondering if Green tree pythons are safe to house at home or if you need a license to keep snakes in a metropolitan area? Thank you.

    1. I am very glad that you liked it!

      Whether you are allowed to keep snakes privately really depends on where you live. In some countries or states, keeping any exotic animal is completely prohibited but usually there is just a restriction on venomous snakes. 

  2. I really enjoyed this article. Very helpful. I had no idea of all the work it takes to home a Green Tree Python. Really opened my eyes. Does all of the humidity settings have to be done by hand. What if you go on vacation? May seem like a silly question, but I can imagine that it might be difficult to find a friend who will take care of your snake while you are gone. LOL

    1. Thank you, I am happy that you liked it!
      Its not a silly question at all and a serious problem for many reptile keepers. Usually I install automatic spaying system for my vacations or get a friend to come over and mist in the morning. Snakes do not require a lot of attention and as long as you give them the appropriate environment, they will be fine for a couple of weeks on their own.
      I personally find that many more people are getting interested in snakes around me. They are fascinating creatures and many of us just have to get exposed to them once to realise that we actually like them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *