Purchasing your very first (of probably many) green tree python is an exciting time to say the least. I remember purchasing my first one back in 2003 from Greg Maxwell. I had been doing lots of research on the Morelia Viridis Forum and the sites of various breeders. I was in my early 30’s and had started to earn a decent living, so I had more disposable income than most. I realize not everyone interested in chondros is in the same financial bracket, but that’s where I was. Greg was selling offspring from a high yellow pairing and I took the plunge. That first animal ended up turning green some 6 months later, but that didn’t matter – I was hooked.
Several purchases and breedings later, I have owned nearly 100 chondros in the past 10 years. There are some definite tips to pass along to those looking to get started. I was fortunate enough to avoid most pitfalls, but others have not been so lucky. Lots of first-time GTP owners have fallen prey to the allure of “cheap” pythons from Kingsnake.com or high volume dealers at reptile shows. I’m not saying you can’t find good animals from those sources, but the likelihood of getting burned is much, much higher with those crowds.
- Don’t buy the cheapest chondro you can find. This is the absolute top rule for chondros as these are not entry level pythons. Purchase good stock from a known/reputable source, and negotiate the best price you can. Buying a “bargain” green tree python from just some dealer is a recipe for disaster in the form of frustration, expensive vet bills, or the disappointment of death. There are far too many reputable breeders with high quality affordable chondros for less than $500 to think about any other options.
- Research the seller / breeder. I can’t say enough about getting to know the great people in this hobby. They will not only back up the animals they sell, but they will often give tons of support after the sale. This can be a priceless education for new keepers.
- Research the species. As I mentioned, these are not entry level pythons. Only hobbyists/breeders with experience keeping other boids should consider purchasing a green tree python. Spend some time researching their husbandry needs first and getting their enclosure established first before making the purchase. There are several books and websites (like this one) with good information that are easy to find.
- Decide on what age to get. This is something that should take careful consideration. A neonate chondro should at least be well established, which takes roughly six months for most breeders. But if you want to know the gender of the animal, you will need to wait until after it is a year old. Chondros less than one year old are too fragile to sex with probes.
- Be patient. Buying a green tree python should not be an impulse purchase until you have purchased/kept several before. Take your time, get your information straight, and make an informed decision. The last thing you want to do is pull the trigger too early and have regrets about your decision.
I hope these tips offer at least one good nugget of information you hadn’t considered yet. Just use common sense and you probably won’t go wrong.