Lereh Green Tree Pythons
The village of Lereh is located within the center of the Kaureh District in the South-central portion of the Jayapura Regency (not to be confused with the “City of Jayapura” Regency). It sits within the North-east portion of Papua, Indonesia, with the Cycloops Mountain Range (Papua spelling) just to the North/North-east and the Jayawijaya Mountain Range to the South/South-west. Due to the location and the possibility of influence of the surrounding mountain ranges, the Green Tree Pythons hailing from the Lereh locale had a rough start in regards to the understanding of the phenotype of a represented Lereh. But in the end, all paths lead to the same phenotype, from the same area, which helped solidify their legitimacy as an observed locale. A locale that is now recognized and accepted by the hobby worldwide.
Going back to the early 2000’s, the first animals represented as Lereh’s appeared in the collections of European hobbyists before they were coming into the US via Bushmaster Reptiles. According to *Freek Nuyt, a Dutch Breeder, the founding Lereh’s originated from the Waruta Valley near Lereh. They were represented as a Locality that where predominantly yellow neonates. Throughout the ontogenetic color change (occ) they developed into a deep lush green animal with a solid blue dorsal stripe with blue “teardrops” falling from the dorsal. A darker green dot may appear within the “teardrop” markings and a few scattered white scales were a common characteristic. Yet in a 2013 interview, **Vladimir Odinchenko had mentioned that for the longest time he believed that Lereh green tree pythons started out as only red (dark maroon, almost brown) neonates. If you’re unfamiliar with who Vladimir was, he was the long time manager and operator of Bushmaster Reptiles farm in Indonesia, “Terreria Indonesia”. He took it from a rather unknown facility within the hobby, to a world renowned Locality Green Tree Python Breeding facility. In this interview, he went on to say that one day he hatched a clutch of red and yellow neonate Lereh’s. Due to the fact that he had never seen a yellow neonate Lereh, he started to question the validity of the parents Locality. It wasn’t until one day that a friend sent him a photo of a yellow neonate he had found within the forest surrounding Lereh, that he came to the conclusion that they were in fact a locale capable of starting out as both red or yellow neonates. The yellow neo Lereh’s Vladimir/Terraria went on to produce, match the exact phenotype as Freek Nuyt had described as the initial Lereh green tree pythons brought into Europe.
Quite possibly due to the close proximity/shared region, red neonate Lereh’s share a very similar phenotype to that of the Cyclops Mtn Locale. A lush green body, a solid blue dorsal stripe with “crescent” style markings protruding from the stripe, and a slightly darker shade of green within the “crescents”. Small clusters or random white scales may or may not appear within the “crescents” along with subtle blue markings along the laterals of the body. Despite their similarities, the most notable difference between the Lereh and Cyclops Mtn Locales is that the “crescents” tend to come to slightly more of a point on Lereh’s. For arguments sake, it is also worth mentioning that the Wamena Locality animals that were coming into Europe at the same time as the founding Lereh’s, look nothing like those represented as Wamena’s today. But rather they looked almost identical to that of what we recognize as red neonate Lereh’s. This has caused some skepticism that the original Wamena’s may have in fact been Lereh’s given their close proximity to the Jayawijaya Mountain range. And that’s why at one time, it was believed in Europe that Lereh’s were predominantly yellow neonates. But remember, Locality representations have long been built upon by the word of the collectors. So to claim that the animals being represented as Wamena’s were in fact not Wamena’s, we are doing ourselves a disservice and going against our own “word-of-mouth data”.
Despite the initial confusion surrounding them, the Lereh locality has come to be embraced by the hobby, worldwide. And those that have had the pleasure to work with them will typically argue that they are quite possibly the most impressive and beautiful of all the Locales.
Credit: David J. Privetts