Green Tree Snake

Leptophis ahaetulla (Linnaeus, 1758)


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Subphylum: Vertebrata

Class: Reptilia

Order: Squamata

Suborder: Serpentes

Family: Colubridae

Subfamily: Colubrinae

Genus: Leptophis

Species: L. ahaetulla


Other names: Green Tree Snake, Green Parrot Snake

Length: Up to 172cm

Color: Bright green scales, typically yellow bellied although they might sometimes be green or white.

Habitat: Found in rainforests but can live almost anywhere there is warm brush and shrubs.

Feeding: Mostly frogs, but will also eat lizards, small birds and eggs. Kills by constriction so that the prey eventually suffocates then the green tree snake will swallow its meal whole. They hunt during the day when their main food source (frogs) are in their resting places, the snake moves about until it uncovers a resting frog and then attacks.

Defensive strategies: Can you tell any differences between these two snakes?


            Snake 1                                         Snake 2

Probably not, but there is one huge difference

When threatened, the Green Parrot Snake will produce a loud hiss, flatten its neck, and widely open its mouth. This display not only looks threatening but is also an example of Batesian-Mimicry. When the green tree snake performs these defensive actions, it mimics the Eye Lash Pit Viper and the Forest Pit Viper, both of which are venomous and are found in the same tropical habitat. Snake 1 is the venomous forest pit viper while snake 2 is the non-venomous green tree snake. This is a great defensive strategy as its predators may mistake him for a venomous snake and flee.

Personal Interest: I have always been fascinated by snakes and was curious as to how non-venomous snakes stand a chance with so many predators. The Batesian Mimicry defense of the Green Tree Snake was exciting to learn about and made it a fun research critter.


Damien Campbell, eHow Contributor. (2013) Information on the Green Parrot Snake. Retrieved May 30, 2013 from URL:

Laura A. Baboolal  (2011) The Online Guide to the Animals of Trinidad and Tobago. Retrieved May 30, 2013 from URL:

Whaldener Endo (2008) Green Tree Snake Photo. Retrieved May 30, 2013 from URL:

Paul Robert Lloyd (2013) The Rufford Foundation. Forest Pit Viper Photo. Website by Wide Media. Retrieved May 30, 2013 from URL: