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Care Sheet - Carpet Python ((Morelia spilota)

Coastal Carpet Python Picture from Wildlife QLD


Distribution
Various subspecies of this snake are found throughout most of Australia and New
Guinea. The more brightly coloured specimens (referred to as Jungle Carpets)
are found in northern Australia. While darker, but still attractive specimens are
found mostly in the central and southern parts of its habitat.
Habitat
Carpet pythons are found in a variety of different habitats ranging from
grasslands and wooded savannahs, as with the Southern Carpet Python
(Morelia spilota imbricata) to the more arboreal of the Jungle and Coastal Carpet
pythons (Morelia spilota cheynei and mcdowelli) in heavily forested Australian
subtropical rainforests.
Adult Size
The smallest carpet python is the Jungle Carpet, which is typically between 140
cm and 200 cm (4 6" to 6 6"). South-western Carpets generally reach lengths
of 170 cm to 190 cm (5 6" to 6 3"), and Coastal carpets between 180 and
250cm (6 to 8). However, Coastal carpets have been known to reach lengths of
14 feet. Hatchling carpets of the three species listed above have a total length of
approximately 42 cm.
Temperament

As with most partially arboreal snakes, carpets can be a little highly strung.
When young, carpet pythons are highly sensitive to potential threats. Or in other
words you may get bitten a few times when the animal is young. As time passes,
you will learn to read the snakes reaction to you and it will learn that you are
not a threat. Translation, you will not get bitten as often!!!!
Lifespan
Carpet pythons typically live to be between 20 and 30 years old in captivity.
Captive Care
Carpet pythons are readily available as domestically bred snakes and are easy to
care for. Most subspecies are of a moderate size which makes them more
desirable than larger species (i.e. Burmese pythons, reticulated pythons...).
Since they are more highly strung than other species, they are definitely not the
best choice for beginner keepers or young children.
Diet
Hatchlings and juveniles - pink/ fuzzy mice, and pink/fuzzy rats every 5-7 days;
Adults - large rodents such as rats every 10 days.
Temperature
25 to 30 C (75-85 F)
Space Requirements
An adult Carpet Python can be housed properly if kept in a vivarium with
adequate vertical climbing space. A 4x4x2 vivarium is suitable for smaller
species (ex: Jungle Carpets), but a 6x4x2 is better for larger subspecies (ex:
Coastal Carpets). Young carpets can be housed in a 15 to 35 gallon terrarium for
the first year or so.
Breeding
Carpet pythons generally reach sexual maturity at 2.5 to 3 years of age and can
produce a clutch of eggs in a captive environment. Winter cooling is not
absolutely necessary to induce breeding if the animals are kept in the low 80s
throughout the year. Instead, it seems it is more important to have multiple
males to induce combat behaviour which in turn stimulates copulation. Typically
the eggs take between 49-72 days to incubate with a temperature between 90F
and 92F.
Special Requirements
Daily misting is always a good way to increase humidity for the more tropical
species such as the Jungle Carpet. An elevated hide spot such as a round piece
of cork bark provides a good sense of security. The possibility of excessive
handling and not enough arboreal climbing space (to provide the animal with a
sense of security) are two factors to think about if your snake goes off food.
However, if kept properly, carpet pythons tend to be a hardy snake.
John Gamesby