Arboreal animals spend most of their lives living in trees and bushes. Some species of snake, lizard and gecko are arboreal; they eat, drink and even reproduce in the branches of trees. Many of the world's arboreal reptiles live in tropical rainforests, where the tall tree canopy and abundance of food sources provide an ideal habitat.
Green Tree Python
Reaching a maximum length of approximately 6 feet, green tree pythons are one of the smaller python species. Living high among the treetops of tropical rainforests in Australia and New Guinea, the nocturnal green tree python hunts a variety of other arboreal creatures like bats, birds, frogs, insects and small rodents.
Emerald Tree Boa
A resident of the South American rainforests, the emerald tree boa is a small species that typically reaches about 6 feet in length, though some individuals may reach 9 to 10 feet. Juveniles are usually red, yellow or green, or a combination of those colours. Colour patterns on mature adults vary, but most are brilliant emerald green with white and yellow markings. Emerald tree boas are strictly arboreal and rarely venture to the ground.
The thick-toed gecko is a small gecko that reaches about 2.5 inches long when fully mature. This species, which is native to Africa, has a rounded snout and a thick, fat body. The thick-toed gecko spends most of its life in the trees, where the spiders and small insects it eats are abundant.
The leaf-tailed gecko, which is also known as the flat-tailed gecko, lives in the rainforests of northern Madagascar. Leaf-tailed geckos are one of the larger gecko species, reaching approximately a foot in length. Male specimens are yellow-brown and females are greyish; both sexes have a whitish stomach. The tail of the leaf-tailed gecko is flat and leaf-shaped.
The green iguana is an arboreal lizard that is native to South and Central America and the Caribbean islands. A very large lizard species, green iguanas can grow to 7 feet in length, and can weigh almost 9.07 Kilogram.
Although green iguanas will venture to the ground more often than other arboreal species, they spend the majority of their time basking on tree branches and foraging for vegetation and insects.
There are more than 150 chameleon species, all of which are arboreal. Most chameleons live in the tropical rainforests of Madagascar and Africa, but some species prefer the drier regions of Asia and Europe.
Chameleons vary greatly in size, shape and colour. The smallest member of the species is the dwarf chameleon, which is slightly over an inch in length; the largest is the Malagasy giant chameleon, which can reach almost 30 inches in length.
- "Simon & Schuster's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of the World"; Massimo Capula; 1990
- Smithsonian National Zoological Park Reptile Discovery Center: Green Tree Python
- Oakland Zoo: Emerald Tree Boa
- Fort Worth Zoo: Henkel's Leaf-tailed Gecko