As their name suggests Aru Green Tree Pythons come from the Aru Islands. A group of around 95 low lying islands located in the Arafura Sea southwest of mainland New Guinea and north of Australia. The Aru islands rise from the Sahul Shelf. The Sahul Shelf is part of the continental shelf of Australia that stretches across northern Australian north to New guinea. Currently the Arafura Sea covers the Sahul shelf but during the last glacial maximum roughly 18,000 years ago, Australia, New Guinea, and the Aru Islands were connected by dry land. As a result, the Aru Islands fauna is similar to that of Southern New Guinea and Australia’s Cape York peninsula including the Southern Green Python.

The Green Python python viridis was originally described by Herman Schlegel in 1872 from a specimen collected from the Aru archipelago. The Southern Green Python (morelia vividis) includes animals from the Aru Islands, Australia’s Cape York peninsula, along with specimens found south of the Central dividing range on the Island of New Guinea typically referred to as Merauke in captive collections.

Aru Green Pythons hatch a brilliant yellow color with a larger pattern of purply brown bordered thin white splotches alternating along the spine and smaller spots and dots along the rest of the body with a dark tipped tail. The Yellow body color typically begins to turn green starting around 8-12 months of age and is mostly complete by the age of 18 months. The juvenile pattern elements turn blue and in some areas small clusters of white scales form predominantly along either side of the spine. Adult Aru Green Pythons are typically a very pleasing shade of green with a smattering of blue elements along the spine with white speckles with the tail typically being a mixture of white, green, blue and black in no particular order. The amount of white and intensity of the blue pattern vary widely among specimens. Most Aru animals have a large blue border along their sides that stands in contrast to the white belly and green body. In some individuals, there is also some yellow patches mixed in along with the blue sides. The snout length of the southern species is not as long and pronounced as the northern species and the tail is blunt without the sharp tip found in northern animals.

The Aru specimens are typically known for having a calm disposition and make for incredible animals to keep. “High White” individuals are considered by some to be the most incredible appearance of all the Green Pythons.
Credit: Ryan Young

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