Basic Care Sheets
These care sheets have been prepared to provide you with a general overview of the basics of caring for Green Tree Pythons. Although I do not consider them difficult to keep, chondros do have specialized needs that must be understood and met in order for them to thrive in your home. While no one person has all the answers, the techniques and methods described in these care sheets have evolved over a period of many years and have proven to be effective in keeping, rearing, and breeding chondros.
For complete information about the captive husbandry and breeding of Morelia viridis, order my comprehensive book, The MORE Complete Chondro. Autographed copies may be ordered directly from me, and you will have a detailed resource to guide you through all the keeping and breeding issues you are likely to encounter.
Your First Chondro
So, you are thinking about acquiring your first chondro. You probably are filled with anticipation and excitement at the prospect of owning one or more of these beautiful animals, but at the same time you have many questions and concerns. You may have been told things about the difficulty in setting up and caring for these animals, or you may have the impression that they require elaborate misting systems and cages etc. These Care Sheets (and the Chondro Myths section) have been written to help you, and guide you through the process of getting to know the basics about GTP care. This can be, and should be, a fun and enjoyable learning experience. Hopefully you will be able to familiarize yourself with the information presented here before you bring home that first animal, but keepers of all levels of experience will hopefully gain some valuable insight from this information. Let's discuss how to go about finding and buying a quality animal.
Selecting a Breeder
This section is titled this way specifically, and for a good reason. You are not shopping for the right animal nearly as much as you are looking for the right breeder! If you are new to chondros, the previous statement is perhaps the most important thing you will read in this entire section. A committed breeder will be dedicated to your success and satisfaction, and chances are that even with the purchase of a healthy captive bred animal you will need some help and advice...know who you are buying from! The above statements are true whether you ever consider buying a chondro from me or not. This is not a sales ploy... it is the truth!Eliminate from your thinking the possibility of buying your animal from a general reptile dealer, swap meet vendor, broker (a person who did not hatch the animals but is simply selling them for someone else), and most on-line classified ads. All of these are high risk sources for chondros, and often sell parasitized imported animals. Frequently these animals are marketed as "captive bred" or "farm raised" and usually have some locality name stuck on them. Do yourself a huge favor and avoid buying from such sources. Make up your mind that you will only consider true domestic captive bred animals from a reputable breeder. It is the same difference as buying a hunting dog from a fine breeder, or from a pet store via a puppy mill.Instead, focus on getting to know some good, quality oriented breeders who concentrate their efforts on chondros. Ask a lot of questions, and by all means visit the facility of the breeder if possible. This will allow you to not only get to know the person and his or her business philosophy, but also to see how the animals are set up and cared for. This can help you a lot with deciding how to approach your own caging and husbandry. Avoid those who won't allow you to see the breeding stock, their facilities, or are impatient and don't want to answer questions. Most successful breeders have no trouble selling their stock, so be cautious around people who seem pushy to make a sale. Never buy sexed chondros under a year in age...due to the fragility of the spine and tail, neonates must not be sexed. Don't listen to anybody who tells you otherwise. For more on this, see the sexing policy remarks on the Terms page.How do you find such people? It is not as difficult as it may sound. You can get to know many of the reputable U.S. breeders by participating on the ChondroForum and by checking out the list of breeders on ChondroWeb.com. Write to prospective breeders and ask questions. Be prepared to be patient...many breeders have seasonal clutches and don't maintain an inventory, and the few breeders who produce year round usually have a waiting list. But the animals in both cases are worth the wait.
Preparing for your first Chondro
There is a lot to do while searching for a breeder and waiting for your animal once you have selected a person to do business with. Of primary importance is the establishment of your cage and the proper environment for your new friend. The Caging and Environment section below covers the basics. See my book, The Complete Chondro, for in-depth treatment of this important topic.Select an out-of-the-way, thermally stable location for the cage or tub. Keep in mind that chondros are a humid environment animal, and make or buy cages that won't degrade from contact with moisture. Don't skimp on caging...it makes no sense to spend the money on a good animal and then cut corners with your cages and equipment. In addition to the cage and it's components, you will need a good thermostat, a decent thermometer,an appropriate size snake hook, forceps or tongs for feeding, and a spray bottle for misting.Spend time reading and learning all that you can before getting that first animal. These Care Sheet topics are important to know about, and the ChondroForum Archives are a gold mine of information. Visit other keepers and see how they do things. When the day comes for the new arrival, your cage and your grasp of basic husbandry will be in place.
A few important principles for the first day
1. Do not handle new chondros, especially babies. If you must handle your reptiles, buy a corn snake. It is a good practice to avoid handling any juvenile chondro under one year in age, and to give new chondros of any age several weeks of acclimation before attempting handling.
2. Provide a thermal gradient between 82 and 88 degrees F.
3. Begin misting your cage and animal from the first day. Proper hydration is important to avoid stress and to assist in a smooth acclimation period.