Locality : Arfak

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Very little known, and not without reason, the locality of Morelia viridis in New Guinea/Papua is difficult to access both in its natural habitat and in captivity, making it one of the most challenging mainland localities to obtain.

Located south of Manokwairi, this mountainous mainland locality thrives in a dense, mountainous rainforest that is still "wild" and renowned for harboring numerous unique plant and animal species.


Let's start with some geography. You will find the distribution range in the photo, which is actually quite extensive, as the ARFAK locality corresponds to a mountain range called the "Arfak Mountains." It is situated in the Doberai Peninsula, in the province of West Papua, Indonesia.


The two highest peaks in this mountain range are Mount Mebo, reaching an altitude of 2,940 meters, and Mount Umsini, with a peak at 2,926 meters.

Based on these data, the distribution range, and the obtained climate records, we can draw similarities with the conditions of the cyclops locality, which also inhabits nearly identical altitudes, although it is located much further east. Therefore, we can assume a more pronounced day/night temperature difference compared to a typical lowland locality, with around 27-28°C during the day and 26°C at night for a juvenile, and eventually 29°C during the day and 24-25°C at night for an adult (reminder: the temperature can vary slightly depending on the positioning of the viridis within the terrarium).

The young specimens can be born either red or yellow.

Morelia Viridis
Based on initial observations, regarding their feeding habits, there are significant differences compared to a Biak, Aru, or Sorong. They eat relatively little, are discreet and calm, far from being nervous or prone to biting. This locality is calm but not particularly shy, and while curious, it is less so than Sorong, Cyclops, Manokwairi, etc.
Morelia Viridis
From the photos, we can see that the ontogenetic change progresses slowly. At first glance, this change seems to occur over a medium to long duration. It will certainly not be as abrupt and immediate as the changes observed in a Lereh or Jayapura, for example, which can sometimes undergo drastic transformations in 48 hours or even less.
Morelia Viridis
And now, the Arfak... Well, for the moment, even when teased by touching their head and tail... Nothing, very little reaction. On the other hand, the Biak locality is quite straightforward; they face the situation immediately, hiss, and bite or bite directly depending on their mood. And the Arfak? Well... It turns and moves away from the "aggressor" with a sense of "disdain"... Each locality has its own tactic!

Credits text and photos : Steve Schmitt