Rare detail in Aussie photographer's 'spectacular' python moment

Queensland amateur photographer Dave Newman has been photographing wildlife for three decades. He said he's never seen a display quite like this before.

A green tree python devouring a rainbow skink at Cape York in Queensland.
A Queensland amateur wildlife photographer has captured the 'spectacular' moment a green tree python ambushed and devoured a skink. Source: Supplied/Dave Newman

An Aussie wildlife photographer has captured the "very special" moment a "spectacular" green tree python ambushed and devoured a rainbow skink, a "rare, incredible" scene to come across during daylight in the predominately nocturnal species.

Melbourne man Dave Newman said he regularly takes trips to Iron Range, which is situated on the north-east coast of the Cape York Peninsula, to snap the area's "unique" wildlife not found anywhere else in the country.

He said in all his time travelling to the spot, he's "never seen green pythons feed during the day" before.

A green tree python devouring a rainbow skink in Queensland.
Green tree pythons are only found in rainforests in the Cape York area in Australia. Source: Supplied/Dave Newman

"I've always suspected the young ones do, because they're tiny when they're babies of course. The only things they could probably take are skinks and geckos and things. But clearly, adults do it as well," Newman, who has been photographing wildlife for 25 years, told Yahoo News Australia.

"They hang from a low branch or vine, virtually at ground level, waiting for prey to pass. None of the elapid snakes in Australia do that."

Newman said that in the three decades he's been photographing nature, his recent trip to Iron Range was the first time he's ever managed to capture a juvenile green python, which are, ironically, yellow when they're born.

A green tree python devouring a rainbow skink at Cape York in Queensland.
The impressive animals are non-venomous, but have a serious set of teeth. Source: Supplied/Dave Newman

Newman argues that the juveniles are "even more" spectacular than the adults. "They transition from yellow to green, at a certain age or size, they will turn from yellow to green. I found a juvenile for the first time on this trip. The colours are pretty incredible," he said.

"I've visited that area, probably eight or nine times, it's right at the tip of Cape York, so far northern Queensland. And that particular area is pretty special because it's kind of like an equivalent of a small slice of Papua New Guinea.

"Australia was joined with PNG about 10,000 years ago. So it's kind of a remnant of New Guinea, that small section up there. There's quite a few species that are only found in that part of Australia and nowhere else. That's why I often go, it's very unique."

A baby green tree snake. Juveniles are born yellow and change to green later in life.
Ironically, green tree pythons are a striking shade of yellow when they're young. Source: Supplied/Dave Newman

After searching continuously, Newman said he managed to locate a total of 28 green pythons on his latest trip. "I'm reasonably good at finding them because I've been doing it for a long time," he said. "They're just amazing snakes, I can never get enough of them."

In Australia green tree pythons are only found in the rainforests of eastern Cape York Peninsula in far north Queensland. It is also widely distributed in Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya.

Hatchlings emerge from their eggs in a bright sulphur yellow or sometimes reddish orange, transforming into the adult colouration after one to two years.

Green pythons are comparatively short, stout-bodied snakes that rarely exceed 1.5 to 1.8 metres in length. Like all pythons, they are non-venomous, but are armed with a long set of recurved teeth

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