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Green Tree Python and Emerald Tree Boa: Habitat, Diet, Reproduction and Common Diseases - page 2 / 2

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occurs from November through January in the northern hemisphere. A daytime temperature of 24°C (75°F) and a nighttime temperature drop to 17°C (62°F) are helpful in stimulating copulation (mating). Ovulation can be recognized by a lump in the middle part of the body that lasts for 8-24 hours. After ovulation, females go through a post-ovulation shed (POS) that is completed 20-30 days post-ovulation. Green Tree Pythons lay eggs about 20-24 days after the POS. Eggs hatch 40-50 days later when incubated at 31°C (88°F) and with a humidity of 100%, (however, the eggs themselves should be kept relatively dry). A small, elevated container with damp sphagnum moss makes an ideal place for a Green Tree Python to lay eggs.

A gravid (pregnant) Emerald Tree Boa will bask extensively at temperatures of 30-32°C (87-90°F), giving birth to live young approximately 100-110 days after ovulation, and may go through more than one shed cycle after ovulation.

Common Diseases

The Green Tree Python and the Emerald Tree Boa are easily stressed, which can make them susceptible to a number of opportunistic pathogens.

Respiratory: Extremely low temperatures and humidity make them susceptible to respiratory infections. Clinical signs include: wheezing, labored breathing, excessive mucus in the mouth, and nasal discharge. In addition to a bacterial and fungal culture and sensitivity (leading to treatment with the correct antimicrobial), appropriate husbandry changes should be made. Chlamydiosis has recently been reported in an outbreak of respiratory infections in Emerald Tree Boas.

Digestive: Gastrointestinal problems such an anorexia, diarrhea, constipation, and regurgitation are common in these snakes especially in imported specimens. Imported snakes can be stressed, carrying a heavy parasite load, and be anorexic due to the parasites. Emerald Tree Boas are quite susceptible to Cryptosporidium infections manifesting in chronic regurgitation. Constipation can be caused by dehydration since the snake has to absorb more water to keep hydrated and the feces dry out making them harder to pass. Constipation can also be caused by overfeeding as previously mentioned. Stress can also cause otherwise non-pathogenic protozoa to become pathogenic.

Neurologic: Inclusion body disease (IBD) is a viral disease caused by what is currently thought to be a retrovirus that affects boids. The virus causes neurologic (nervous system) disease, regurgitation, and can cause secondary pneumonia. At this time, there is no serologic assay. Current therapy recommends biopsy of the esophageal tonsils, liver, kidney, and pancreas as the best antemortem (before death) diagnosis. A complete blood count should also be performed. Infected snakes do not recover and euthanasia is recommended.

Skin: Dysecdysis is commonly seen in these snakes. It is primarily caused by low humidity, but can also be caused by a mite infestation, poor nutrition, and improper handling during the shedding cycle. Snakes with dysecdysis should be soaked in tepid (lukewarm) water for about 30 minutes, then rubbed gently with a towel to remove the pieces of skin. Retained eye caps should be carefully removed by someone properly trained in this procedure to prevent permanent damage to the cornea.

Cancer: Neoplasia is seen in all reptiles, and lymphomas and lymphosarcomas have been reported in Green Tree Pythons.

Green Tree Python and Emerald Tree Boa: Habitat, Diet, Reproduction and Common Diseases - Page 2 of 2

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