Reptil TV - Folge 50 - Morelia viridis / Chondro / Grüner Baumpython - Teil 1

Uploaded by ReptilTV on 01.02.2013

Let me be honest with you. Four years ago, when we started doing Repitl.TV, I never would have thought that we would still be doing the show.
And still, we have things planed for the future. There isn't one day or a week, where we don't receive nice feedback.
Feedback like: 'Keep up the great work.' 'Fantastic show!' 'Thank you very much!'. This feedback motivates us to keep on going!
That's why today's episode is number 50! And I've got a great topic - a real highlight - for you today.
In our intro, I promised that today's episode is a real highlight! And I think I can keep my word!
Today we are visiting Stefan King, somewhere deep in the Back Forest.
In my opinion, Stefan is the No.1 Breeder when it comes to Chondros.
You promised, that today you are going to show us your site and your animals.
Stefan B.: That's what we have planned for today, haven't we? Stefan K.: Exactly! Let's have a look at my site!
Chondros have a rather wide area of population. The main area is of course New Guinea.
That is one big island, surrounded by many other smaller islands. There are also animals from the Australian mainland, however they aren't really relevant for us herpetologists.
Stefan B.: Where do your animals originate? Stefan K.: Our snakes are the Sorong and Biak subspecies.
We have these subspecies, because for us, they have the most beautiful colors.
As an experienced Regius breeder, I have some difficulties managing the climatical conditions and don't know everything about keeping Chondros.
Chondros are bit more difficult than Ball Pythons. Maybe you could tell us how you manage your Tree Pythons.
Because the Chondros origin are in tropical rain forest, they need appropriate conditions in regards to temperature and humidity.
We prefer rather high terrariums, with different places where for the Chondros to rest.
With that, they can also choose the temperature range they prefer.
We've got about 30°C in the top area. The temperature drops about 1-2 °C towards the bottom.
How do you achieve this temperature difference? Does this happen all by itself?
This happens automatically, because the temperature sensor is always installed on the upmost branch. It is installed at the same height, as the highest branch.
That's why the temperature regulates itself, down to the bottom, the temperature decreases a little bit.
Stefan B.: Ok, so you've got 30°C at the top and about 28°C at the bottom? That way your snake can choose where it wants to lie down and rest? Stefan K.: Yes about that temperature. That's correct.
What about humidity? Especially with Chondros, you have to pay attention to the humidity. How do you regulate it?
I regulate the humidity by spraying water. We use a sprayer that works with compressed air.
We spray each terrarium every morning. And we also spray the animals directly. That way they can also drink the small water drops that you can find on their skin.
Of course there are also rain machines that work and keep the humidity in balance.
We prefer to spray our animals by hand, because that way we also look at each animal, each and every day.
So the water that you spray is for the humidity, but also for the animal to drink - when the small water drops gather on their skin?
So, you use that spray hose and spray in the morning and in the evening?
We never spray at night. We only spray in the morning. Until it is evening, the glass should have dried.
It doesn't have to be completely dry, but it shouldn't be covered by mist.
Because at night, when the temperature falls, the relative humidity increases automatically.
Stefan B.: Ahh, so if you would spray in the evening, your environment would be too damp?
Stefan K.: Yes, it would be too damp. Stefan B.: It's always a tightrope walk with the Chondro, isn't it?
Stefan B.: You can't keep it in an environment as damp as a washhouse. However, it does need a very humid environment. Stefan K.: Absolutely correct!
It is very important that it isn't wet in your terrarium all the time. The environment shouldn't be too humid and not too dry.
Stefan B.: How long do you have to spray? What amount of water should you use? Do you spray the terrarium for 10 seconds or for minutes?
Stefan K.: 10 seconds should be enough.
Stefan B.: How high is the humidity that you would measure in your terrarium afterwards?
Stefan K.: It should be somewhere around 90%. Stefan B.: And that value rises after you sprayed?
Stefan K.: Throughout the day, the humidity decreases until it is evening.
Then, because the heating system turns itself off, the day temperature is lowered until we reach the night temperature - the relative humidity automatically increases inside the terrarium.
Stefan B.: Temperature at night is our next keyword. What temperature do you have at night?
Stefan K.: At night I have somewhere between 26 -27°C.
Stefan B.: And is this also measured on the upmost branch? Stefan K.: Yes, exactly, it is measured on the upmost resting branch. Of course, towards the bottom, the temperature decreases again.
Stefan B.: That brings us to your heating system. You said that you have 30°C. How do you heat your terrarium up to that temperature?
Stefan K.: We use these heating cables. All we do is to fit them into these panels. Stefan B.: And you place these panels in the back?
Stefan K.: Correct. Stefan B.: And they emit the heat into the terrarium?
Stefan B.: What about your light setup here? Do you have these small LED bulbs up there. Are they for the animals, or are they just for your satisfaction?
Stefan K.: In general, you can say that Chondros need some light. At least the day - night difference should be visible.
We use these LED bulbs because they don't emit any heat at all.
Stefan B.: Ahh, so all you want is some lighting for you to see something. And you have the day - night rhythm.
Theoretically, you could achieve this by using the lighting that is in the room, as long as you animal has some kind of rhythm of day and night.
But you don't use the lights for heating or even as a sunspot - a Chondro doesn’t need those things.
Stefan B.: Let's go on to our next topic. What about all the equipment you need for your terrarium? Could you explain how you fitted your tanks?
We use real, organic branches, crotches from various hardwoods. Beech trees, meadows, everything you can find in nature.
Stefan B.: You told me that you don't like those plastic sticks at all. Stefan K.: For me, I don't think they are very useful.
Stefan K.: Because during their molt, the Chondros can use the real .... Stefan B.: .. so they need something rather rough ...
Stefan K.: They need a rough surface where they can scratch themselves, during the molt.
Stefan B.: Could you also mix them with plastic ones? Let's say half and half? Stefan K.: You could do that.
Stefan B.: And all you do, is to fix them here on the side? Ahh ok, here you've got some pieces of cork. Stefan K.: Pieces of cork. Stefan B.: Ahh and you put or fix them on these pieces.
Stefan K.: No, I only placed them on those pieces. Stefan B.: Ahh, ok. Also they are clamped in a bit.
Stefan B.: All the other plants are made out of plastic. Could you tell us the reason for that?
Stefan K.: Of course. These plants are camouflage for the Chondro. It has to feel snug and safe. In addition, I want to imitate the vegetation of a tropical rain forest a bit.
In addition, it is very easy to spray and it maintains the humidity.
Stefan B.: You have artificial plants. Could you also use real plants?
Stefan B.: You have artificial plants. Could you also use real plants?
I would never prefer real plants. You simply can't clean them. After a Chondro has defecated, you can simply clean the leaves. With real plants, you have to take much more and thoroughly.
Stefan B.: Ok, well with just a single terrarium you could manage. But with those many terrariums, you would need to be a botanist. Stefan K.: With one it's possible, with this amount, you would go crazy.
Stefan B.: What do you use as litter? You have this wooden litter here. Is that ReptiWood fine or something similar?
Stefan K.: Correct. Stefan B.: Do you also have to moisten the litter, or do you leave it dry?
Stefan K.: We leave our litter dry. We only spray it once in the morning. That way the litter conserves the moisture and slowly let's it evaporate.
Because of that, the ground is always dry.
Stefan B.: And they you have a water bowl ... Stefan K.: The water bowl is mandatory.
Stefan B.: Do they drink from it, or is it only for the humidity? Stefan K.: Some drink from it, but they prefer to be sprayed and drink the water from their skin.
Stefan B.: All this time, we have been fumbling around inside this terrarium. Our female is sitting up there. Can you tell us something about how aggressive she is?
That is an other good cue. Some people think that Chondros are quick to bite. Myself and other people think that Chondros are rather tame snakes. What is your opinion as an expert?
Stefan K.: Well, Stefan if you are afraid already, we better close the door.
Actually, it is the case that the Sorong Subspecies is relatively peaceful by nature.
The Biak subspecies is a bit more aggressive. In particular if you annoy or handle them, they can become pretty pissed off.
However, during daytime Chondros normally rest on a branch, as you can see here. That is there time for recreation.
Normally, when the light goes dark they become more active and begin to hunt. At that time, you shouldn’t have you hands inside.
Stefan B.: Sometimes people have to urge to take out their snake, especially because, of course they want to touch their pets.
What would you advise, especially in comparison with Ball Pythons. Is it a total no-go, or only if it is necessary, or is it no problem at all?
Stefan K.: If it is really necessary, then you can take out from time to time. But Chondros aren't a pet you can cuddle.
Moreover, it isn't as easy to handle - compared to a Ball Python.
Stefan B.: They want to be left in peace. Stefan K.: Exactly, they want to be left in peace. Stefan B.: They just want to hang around - in the truest sense of the word.
Stefan B.: Is it possible, that you could show us how to take out an animal? Could you maybe show us how - with this snake?
Stefan K.: Of course, that isn't a problem. Stefan B.: If you need them, I brought along a pair of gloves.
Stefan K.: Hmmm ... I could wear them for my safety. But at the moment this animal is resting. Therefore, I'll go ahead and try to take it out, without wearing gloves.
Stefan B.: Ok, just tell me if you need them. I've got them right here. Stefan K.: All right.
Stefan B.: That was rather quick and easy. As I see, there aren't any bleeding cuts on your arms.
I have the impression that she is rather peaceful. Speaking of bleeding cuts, Chondros have really long teeth.
They eat birds, therefore they need their long teeth which help them to hold their prey.
Could you show us her teeth. That way we can get a better idea of how the teeth look.
Stefan K.: No problem. But it is better to use tweezers, if we want to open its mouth.
And then we'll see what you just explained.
Stefan B.:: And you have to be careful, otherwise you can hurt the animal. Stefan K.: Exactly. You can also use a wooden spattle.
However, it's no problem to do this with the tweezers.
Stefan B.: Some people recommend that you look inside the mouth, if you buy a new animal, and look if you can see anything that isn't normal.
It's an old habit that many herpetologists have - looking for coatings or anything else that doesn't seem right. At that point, you also need to open the snake’s mouth.
We've stressed her enough, our poor gal. If you put her back inside, she will have her peace.
Stefan K.: Good idea, that's what I'll do now.
Stefan B.: What you can see here is the typical dark tail tip - that is something else that is typical for Chondros.
If they lay on a branch, furled in a classical position.
Then they use their tail as bait. The dark end is supposed to represent a caterpillar or worm. They also move it a bit.
With that motion, they try to attract geckos or other saurians - other prey animals.
They think there is a worm or a caterpillar, because the tail moves. That's what a Chondro would normally eat.
We are standing here in front of Stefan's equipment where he breeds pups.
Here we can see all the little yellow Chondros. As babies all animals are yellow. After some time they begin to change their color.
You can see that this one is already changing its color a bit. This one too.
There are also red animals. We'll show you some red babies later.
The topic here is in general feeding. These here look like they are rather hungry.
How often do you feed the little ones, or and the big ones?
Stefan K.: We feed our pups once a week. And always with a suitably sized prey animal. With an animal this size, we feed pubescent mice.
Or a baby rat.
Stefan B.: All right, so you feed a pubescent mouse or a baby rat. Stefan K.: Yes, a pubescent mouse or a baby rat.
Stefan B.: What about the adult animals? Do you feed them at a larger interval?
Stefan K.: Yes, we feed them at a different interval. A medium sized rat. With the really large animals the rats weigh about 250 grams.
200 - 250 grams every two to three weeks. It depends.
Stefan B.: That really is considerably less than you would have to feed a Ball Python or a Boa Constrictor
It's commonly known and you can also see it here - Chondros are quote unquote rather lazy snakes.
They spend most of their day just hanging around. Correspondingly they don't have a metabolism that is that high.
Therefore, you feed them at a larger interval. That's also what I can recount of my knowledge.
Stefan B.: How do you feed your animals? Do you feed live prey, dead prey or do you give them a mixed diet?
Stefan K.: We try to only feed frozen prey alternatively, rats that just have been deadened.
Stefan B.: Then I would say, let's feed one of your snakes.
Let's feed this one. It looks really hungry.
Stefan K.: What's really important is that you present the prey from below.
Stefan B.: That was quick. It already snapped.
Stefan B.: Even if you feed dead prey, they always gag on the dead animals? Stefan K.: Yes, of course.
Stefan B.: All it did was pause for a moment. Stefan K.: You can wiggle your tweezers a bit...
Stefan B.: You pointed out, that for you it's important to feed from bellow and also you don't like to keep them in racks.
Stefan K.: Well, the pups eat better, if you feed them from bellow. That's because this is the direction in which they normally hunt.
If you present the prey from below and the side, they can focus on the prey - and not the human who is feeding it.
If a rack environment, the human always comes from above and is seen as a threat.
And what happens is, that as a result the pups don't feed very well.
Stefan B.: So could you say that for a Chondro the danger always comes from above. Be it a bird or a predator. Really large birds of prey that can eat a Chondro.
And their prey, geckos and what else is running around in their habitat is below them and that is the direction in which they snap for their prey.
Stefan K.: Spot on.
Stefan B.: So in the past few years, these terrariums made out of glass, have proven very useful? Stefan K.: Yes they have.
We also should talk about keeping them individually. As we can see, you keep each animal separately. With most snakes, especially with the pups, this has become a common practice.
What about Chondros? Is it important? Or was it more or less a coincidence?
Stefan K.: With Chondros it is really important! After their first molt the pups are relatively aggressive.
They would probably eat each other. So we have cannibalism. The animals would hurt bite each other and injure one another.
In addition, if they are kept individually they feed much better.
Stefan B.: That went really well. I think it's better to close the terrarium, otherwise it might be hanging on our earlobe.
Stefan K.: That's what I'm going to do.
Stefan B.: Before we can wrap up this episode, I've got an insider question for you.
What would you say is a very common mistake with Chondros and maybe you can share an insider tip with us.
Stefan K.: The most important factor is to have climatical conditions that are good.
Stefan B.: So it should be according to the things we talked about earlier? Stefan K.: You need different climatical zones and the humidity are the most important factors to watch if you have Chondros.
Stefan B.: Could you share a classical mistake or do you recall something else? Intestinal prolapse is a common disease.
Stefan K.: With the young animals, intestinal prolapse is quite widespread.
Since we've been keeping them on litter and individually we didn't have a single case of intestinal prolapse.
Stefan B.: It was common to keep them on a water bath. Stefan K.: Yes, that was a common practice.
Stefan B.: And with litter, you mean this wooden litter here? Stefan K.: Correct, and we maintain a temperature that is a bit lower.
With that, I would recommend 29°C and 25°C at night. We haven't experienced any problems with our pups - since we keep to these temperatures.
Stefan B.: One last question. I often get emails where people ask if they can keep a Chondro, even if they are a rookie. Would you say yes or no? Or does it depend?
Stefan K.: It is possible that a rookie can keep a Chondro, if he can guarantee the factors we mentioned. In addition, if he informs himself about the rest with the help of good literature.
Stefan B.: Or with the help of an expert? Stefan K.: Yes, also with the help of an expert. Stefan B.: Or with the help of Reptil.TV!
In my opinion, I didn't promise too much. For me it was a super interesting episode.
I also didn't have the chance to show you everything. We didn't talk about colors or breeding.
Therefore, you can already look forward for the next episode. That will be part two.
Nether the less, I want to express gratitude to Stefan's help and for making this episode possible.
For the end of this episode, I have one last and important question.
Some of you might be wondering why we are talking about Chondros - whereas its scientific name is Morelia viridis.
But their name used to be Chondro Python Viridis. At some point that name was revised to Morelia Viridis.
But Chondro, as a name for this snake, stayed and is still used by insiders or in herpetological jargon.
A Chondro is a Chondro and not a Morelia Viridis, or what have you.
As always, I want to promote some good literary tips.
Buy good books! There is the Compendium written by Maxwell.
And there is a new book about Chondros from NTV. This book is brilliant.
You can read up on everything you need to know there.
Until next episode!
And in this case: Check my Chondros!
I wouldn't have thought that ... Ugh! ...
... each day that an email ... right I have to ...
In my opinion the expert for Ball ... wait, no! ...
He is, in my opinion, the Ball Python breeder ... now I said it again! ...
Hey, they want to begin, look that way.
... ok ... next ...
Stefan K.: The camera is rolling? Camera: Yo!
I'd say that is going to be good, it's going to be great!
That was really top notch.
Stefan B.: You have to start! Camera: Correct. Just ask him something. Stefan K.: I have to begin, or what?
Stefan K.: They want to be left in peace. Stefan B.: Literally, they want to hang around.
Stefan B.: That was a great pun, hang around... Camera: That was sooo great!
That was almost so good that we could just use this shoot.
Come on, that was long enough already. Stop. End.