Carpet Python Stephen Zozaya

Carpet Python

Morelia spilota

Did You Know?

  • The biggest threat posed to the NT carpet python is cane toads; if exposed to the cane toad toxin, they die very quickly
FactBox Image

Carpet pythons are extremely variable in colour and pattern (often have pale, dark-edged blotches, stripes or cross bands).

Seven geographical subspecies are recognised as carpet pythons are extremely diverse in appearance. The Northern Territory form (Morelia spilota variegat) is different from the other subspecies because it is a beige or brown colour with blackish or grey blotches and bright gold, yellow and rust colour forms in regional areas. This subspecies is about 2.5m long on average.

They have row of deep pits run along the lower jaw, and small scales present on the top of the head. This species can grow greater than 3 m in length, and although non-venomous, they possess powerful jaws and constricting capability.

Size

2 - 4 m length; 15 kg weight.

Behaviour

Diet

They feed on frogs, lizards, birds and mammals, and can often be encountered near chicken pens or barns.

Movement

Active during the day and night, often seen on the ground, in trees or buildings. Often seen on Top End roads at night especially in the Wet season (October-May).

Breeding

Females lay a clutch of 10 - 47 eggs in early summer, concealing them in sheltered sites like hollow stumps or depressions in the ground. The female will leave the nest to absorb heat and return to incubate the eggs in her pre-heated state. Eggs are white and elongated with a dry skin-like shell.

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What to Observe

  • Presence

  • Courting/Mating

  • Feeding

  • Eggs

Climate Adaptations

Reptiles are expected to start basking, mating and reproducing earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth. Species may move into regions that were previously too cold to inhabit.

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When and Where

When To Look

  • All year round
  • Breeding occurs in the summer
  • Look during the day when the sun is out to catch them basking

Where To Look

  • Throughout Australia, except the arid center, western and southern regions
  • Open forests, rainforests, coastal heaths, rural lands, park lands and suburban gardens
Species: WhatElse Image

What Else?

Similar Species

Spotted python (QLD) is fawn to brown with irregular, dark purplish-brown blotches. Adult Spotted Pythons are much smaller (100 - 140 cm) and have 3 scales across the top of the head in a straight line between the eyes.

QLD's Amethystine python (Scrub Python) has larger scales on the head and and an iridescent purple sheen.

Children’s python (NT) has similar markings but is significantly smaller (75 cm).

Black headed python (NT) has a distinctive banded pattern and black head.

NT's Banded tree snake (Night tiger) has distinctive brown/red bands, a slender body with bulging eyes and is mildly venomous.