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The Green Tree Snake and Other Green Snakes

The Green Tree snake (Dendrelaphis punctuala) isn't always green, although most of them are. It can also be brown to nearly black, tan, blue, or even yellow. No matter what the color of the body, these snakes all have a yellow throat. Their eyes are fairly large, and at least from the perspective of other snakes, the head of this snake could be considered to be rather handsome. The snake is found in many parts of Australia, although primarily in the northern and eastern parts of the country. The Green Tree snake also makes its home on the island of New Guinea/Borneo, and a few other places in Southeast Asia as well. A particularly beautiful example of this snake is one that has a green body, with blue flecks between the scales. The flecks tend to stand out if the snake feels threatened, as it will expand its neck to make itself look larger. It has small teeth, but rarely bites, and is non-venomous. In other words it is a harmless creature unless you are somewhere beneath it in the food chain.

The habitat of this snake can be quite varied. While it is typically found in rainforests and rural lands, it is not uncommon to see these snakes in suburban areas, if not in the cities themselves. Its diet consists primarily of small reptiles, frogs, and fish. Most snakes of this species grow to roughly 3 feet in length, although occasionally one is seen that is nearly twice that length.

As their name would imply, these snakes spend most of their time in trees or other arboreal settings. They are sometimes seen on the ground, although not all that often. When on the ground they like to stay hidden in tall grass or in brush, where they do an excellent job of camouflaging themselves. When looking at images of these snakes when they are hiding rather than hunting, they can sometimes be quite difficult to see. The caption may read, “Green Tree Snake”, but you find yourself asking – “Where”?

These snakes can make interesting pets, but one has to be aware of the fact that they are extremely fast and agile. While you want to hold one firmly, yet without harming it, the snake is very good at working free of someone's grasp and heading for a safe place to hide, whether that be in your yard or in your living room. They will often hide in the smallest space they can get into, so retrieving them without hurting them can sometimes be a challenge.

A Close Cousin - The closest relative to D. punctuala, is D. calligastera, calligastra meaning “beautiful belly”. D. calligastra, more commonly known as the Northern tree snake, is also green in color, although the green is a darker shade than is the case with its cousin. The Northern tree snake is only found in Queensland, Australia, and only on the northeast coast.

Other Cousins - There are a number of other species of green snakes in the world, including several that make their home in North America. These green snakes are all thin-bodied, and have roughly the same length as the Australian Green Tree snake, but they are for the most part ground dwellers. All are non-venomous, and their diets consist mainly of various insects and spiders, as well as grasshoppers and moths. The green snakes that can be found in the United States include two species of Rough Green Snakes and two species of Smooth Green Snakes. There are also two species of green snakes found in Asia.

Pythons And Boas - There is one other green snake that spends most of its time in trees that is worth mentioning, and that is the Green Tree Python. The Green Tree Python is not much longer than the Green Tree snake, but is thicker and more muscular in its build, as is befitting of a python. It feeds on slightly larger prey than does the tree snake. The Green Tree Python is non-venomous, and is popular as a pet among snake lovers.

A very similar snake to the tree python is the Emerald Tree Boa, which is also non-venomous, and is about the same size. Like the python, the Emerald Tree Boa is a much more muscular snake than are the aforementioned tree snakes, who are all quite slender. Like the Green Tree Python, the Boa is a favorite with those who like exotic pets.

While on the subject of green snakes, the largest of them all should probably be mentioned. The South American Anaconda is not only the largest of the green snakes, it is also the largest snake in the world. The Anaconda can weigh 500 pounds, can reach a length of nearly 30 feet, and has been known to eat jaguars for lunch. Anacondas rarely bother humans, except in the movies, but could if they wanted to. The Anaconda is not a green tree snake, although it is capable of climbing. It spends most of its time in the water.




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