|Common Name:||Carpet python|
|Scientific Name:||Morelia spilota|
|Life Span:||20 years or more|
|Size:||6.6 to 13.1 feet|
|Country of Origin:||Australia, New Guinea, and Papua New Guinea|
Carpet Python is also called diamond python. It is a large snake that belongs to the Pythonidae family native in Australia, New Guinea, and the Bismarck Archipelago and in the northern areas of Solomon Islands. There are many subspecies of the carpet python, and it is all recognized by experts.
The carpet python is a large species of python that reaches 2 to 4 meters or 6.6 to 13.1 feet in length. This snake can weigh up to 33 pounds. It is the largest subspecies of the species, and the average length of an adult is around 6.6 feet. There is also a specimen in Ireland called M. s. mcdowelli that measures 12.99 feet.
Males are smaller than females, and in some areas where this snake thrives, females may even be twice as large and four times heavier than males. The head of the carpet snake is triangular and has a row of heat-sensitive labial pits. The color of the carpet snake varies from olive to black with cream or white and gold marks. The patterns could be diamond-shaped, but some may also have intricate markings composed of bands in varying shades of colors. The skin background is gray or brown.
Carpet pythons are very popular pets among snake lovers. Some forms are larger, some smaller, and some are docile, while some are aggressive. It is important to carefully consider the diet of snakes; this is because of a strong feeding response behavior that may be mistaken for aggression in snakes.
The carpet python has the following subspecies
- M. s. cheynei by Wells & Wellington in 1984 is also known as Jungle carpet python and is native in Australia, in the northeastern part of Queensland.
- M. s. imbricate by LA Smith in 1981. This is also known as the Southern carpet python and is found across southwest Australia to the Eyre Peninsula in the southern part of Australia.
- M. s. mcdowelli by Wells & Wellington in 1984 is also known as Coastal carpet python and is from Australia in the eastern part of Queensland and northeastern New South Wales.
- M. s. metcalfei by Wells & Wellington in 1984 and is also known as Inland carpet python. This is native to Australia in the Murray-Darling Basin in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia.
- M. s. spilota by Lacepede in 1804 is also called a Diamond python. It is found in Australia in eastern New South Wales and the extreme eastern parts of Australia.
- M. s. variegate by JE Gray in 1842 and is also known as Darwin carpet python, Irian Jaya carpet python, Papuan carpet python, and rubber python. These are found in New Guinea, Australia, Northern Territory, and more.
In captivity, Carpet Pythons can live up to 20 years. However, there are species, which can live up to 30 years on average. Carpet Pythons are like other snakes and have three life stages: hatchlings/young, juveniles, and adult pythons.
Hatchlings are very small and may even fit your hand. However, despite the size, the bands on their bodies are already distinct. The head is already triangular in shape. When it comes to behavior, hatchlings are already capable of look for prey, are very aggressive, especially in the wild, but are not venomous.
Juvenile pythons are larger and are able to hunt large food. After leaving the nest, a young python looks for prey and places to curl up and rest. Juveniles are already starting to look like their parents.
Adult Carpet Pythons develop a large and long body with stripes and marks all over even on the belly. As mentioned, males are smaller than females, and females are around four times larger and heavier than males.
The Carpet Python’s diet is made up of lizards, small mammals, and mice. Pythons grow larger when they eat regularly, but in the wild, these can grow slower because they need to hunt for food first before they could eat. In the wild, Carpet Pythons will hunt their prey using their impressive sense of smell and hearing. The most common prey found in the wild are rats, birds,\ and other smaller mammals.
Carpet pythons are non-venomous and will kill their prey through constriction. These will coil around their prey and suffocate them until this runs out of air. The Carpet Python will swallow its prey whole head first. Pythons can take a long time to swallow larger prey, and digestion may take a few hours to even a few days.
To feed your Carpet Python, give them hairless or pinkie mice. You may also feed adults commercially-raised mice and rats. Adults can be fed one large mouse every two weeks.
Meanwhile, juvenile and hatchlings can be fed appropriately-sized food once a week. Always have clean, fresh water in the snake tank. You can use a heavy ceramic bowl, so this will not spill inside the tank.
Carpet Pythons need a hide where it can stay and sleep. You can use a ceramic pot or a strong cardboard box. Put one directly under the lamp and another away from the lamp; this will allow your python to rest on any environment that it wants depending on its internal body temperature.
Some carpet pythons are nocturnal, but most Carpet python handlers say that their snakes will prefer to eat hunt and bask in the morning and rest in the evening. Monitor your snake for its preferred time to stay awake and sleep so you will know when to feed and handle it.
Carpet Pythons need fresh water to drink. Leave a wide bowl made of ceramic or a clay pot. The python will simply lick water from the bowl anytime it wants a drink. Replace the water inside this bowl regularly because this could become dirty if you have more snakes in your tank.
Carpet pythons will also like water from the tank wall or plants, and usually, this is now they drink water in the wild. Spray your tank daily.
Development, Reproduction, and Breeding in Captivity
Carpet pythons will survive longer in captivity because of its predators in the wild. Aside from predators, certain environmental changes have also affected the survival of pythons, including this species.
Meanwhile, expert breeders say that wild-caught Carpet pythons are more difficult to breed than any other captive snakes. Very few breeders have done so successfully. But as soon as this was done successfully, techniques on how to breed effectively spread. This has also led to the dramatic growth of the carpet python population.
Before anything else, consider the right tank for your pets. Some breeders prefer stack housing or using small containers while some use ordinary cages. Heating is crucial in healthy pythons. Those who do not use temperature-regulated enclosures should upgrade to enhance the temperature inside the snake’s cage with a heat lamp, a heat panel, or a pad.
Carpet pythons may grow to their adult size and length in as short as 2 years, but they may only start to focus on breeding by the time these are 3 to 5 years old. The best way to stimulate breeding is to provide a “cool-down” period. Place the male and female pythons in individual cages or enclosures.
In October, reduce nighttime temperatures a few degrees every other night. Use a 12 hour daylight period as you reduce the temperature. Use this method until December and then increase nighttime temperatures back to the regular level. The cooling period stops at the end of December, and after this, it is a guarantee that carpet pythons will be ready to breed.
After the cooling phase, give food to your snakes, but the amount has to be lesser than usual, Feed a large mouse a mouth, and after two or three weeks of the cooling period, it is time to introduce the male and female snakes.
Experts say that this technique of fasting during the cooling phase helps stimulate the reproduction phase. Also, fat snakes or overfed snakes will never be good parents. A slender Carpet python means there is good health, while python that looks like a ball is not healthy at all.
Breeding will begin during May and ends in June. Ovulation begins in July. Once the females have large follicles, these will cease feeding, and their bodies swell from the posterior to the middle. The swelling will last for a day.
As soon as you notice these changes in the appearance of the female, place an egg box with slightly damp moss and soil. Place this nest on the cooler area of the cage. The female will surely move in and out of the box for 30 days. She will come out to drink and bask only for a short period.
During the first week of September, a female carpet python may have laid a clutch of eggs of 10 eggs. You must remove the eggs to artificially incubate these in a small container with moist vermiculite. Place the eggs half the diameter in vermiculite. After 59 days of incubation, the small pythons will move out of the shell, starting from their eggs. Each baby will weigh around 19 grams and less than 14 inches in length.
Common Health Problems
Pet pythons are mainly healthy as long as it is given the right food and their tanks are well maintained. However, these may not be enough to prevent some health conditions.
It’s difficult to know if your python is health or is sick. But you can tell by comparing the appearance of healthy snakes to the sick one.
Take note that healthy snakes have clear eyes, nose, and mouth. These have a good appetite, with a rounded and full body, and have healthy skin. A sick python has wrinkled skin, lack of energy, with discharge coming from its nose or mouth, abnormal feces or urine, lack of appetite, and vomiting.
Take note of the following most common health issues of Carpet Pythons:
Python Skin Conditions
Carpet pythons may become affected by skin conditions such as abscesses. This usually develops after a previous injury that has become infected. Abscesses may look like a simple lump on the skin, but usually, this may protrude to the internal part of the body. Abscesses may look similar to tumors, constipation, and eggs that have remained inside the body of a female.
Another very common skin condition is a blister. Blisters are fluid-filled skin structures that start along the underside of the snake. This is due to living in a moldy, dirty, and reused substrate. These are dangerous and must be removed by a vet since these could pile up and may grow anywhere, including the mouth and nose.
Other conditions are cuts and blisters, usually due to the display found inside the snake tank. Cuts are preventable by ensuring that the accessories inside the enclosure are will never harm your snake.
The most dangerous skin conditions in snakes are mites and ticks. Mites are tiny that can be red, white, or black that cause severe itching and inflammation. Ticks are larger and can bury in between the scales. Ticks are difficult to remove, and this will not let go of the snake. If you see ticks, do not remove the tick with tweezers; just soak the snake in a warm bath to get rid of these parasites.
A wild Carpet Python can get parasites from other reptiles as well as from infected prey. Some signs of parasites are poor appetite, regurgitation, lethargy, and overall tired appearance. You should consult a reptile or exotics vet to treat internal parasites ASAP.
Regurgitation is the snake vomiting undigested foo. This can be due to stress, holding or handling the snake too much and right after feeding, and due to an undiagnosed and untreated illness. This may be avoided by never holding your snake right after feeding. Also, have your pet checked by an exotics vet for any untreated treated illness.
Symptoms such as lethargy, coughing, open-mouth breathing wheezing, runny nose, or unusual clicking noises from your snake could mean respiratory issues. If you see these symptoms, raise the temperature inside the tank to enhance the snake’s immune response. If the symptoms worsen, take your snake to the vet.
Shedding is a very common thing for snakes and other reptiles. It may pose a problem to pythons, especially when its tank is not properly hydrated. The skin in the body and tail will shed, but usually, the skin around the eye or the eye caps and tail have the tendency to cling to the body if the environment is just too dry. If you spot problems with shedding, take your pet to the vet.
To prevent illness in carpet pythons, make sure that the tank has the best temperature and hydration. Invest in a digital thermometer and hygrometer to monitor tank conditions as well as a temperature gun to take accurate measurements of the basking area and other spots inside the tank. Properly hydrate your snake by spraying the tank with water. Leave a bowl of water inside the tank and change this daily. Change bedding often to prevent parasitic and bacterial infections, which can become life-threatening for your snake.
If you have a new snake, quarantine this for a few weeks first before you allow it inside the tank with your other carpet snakes. Some infections are due to snakes caught from the wild. When it comes to shedding, leave your snake to avoid stress. Intervene only when you see problems with shedding, especially along the tail and eye cap. You can avoid these by maintaining the correct temperature and humidity inside the snake tank.
Adult Carpet Pythons are docile snakes and will never display any vicious behavior towards their handlers. This is achieved by regular handling of a pet carpet python from its hatchling phase to its adult phase. However, hatchlings that are up to a year old are nippy and can be defensive. These small snakes have naturally adapted this behavior because these are prey in the wild. But experts say that after a year or more, adult carpet pythons will be a lot calmer when handled.
Pythons are known constrictors, which means that these will wrap around their prey to kill it and then swallow it headfirst. Pythons will also track its prey even if it takes a long time and the surprisingly pounce on them. It will remain wrapped around the prey and sometimes will have another one in its tail if there is more prey in the area.
Have Impressive Senses
A python has impressive natural senses that allow it to smell, hear, and track its prey even when it’s located far away. Snakes may have poor eyesight, but these makeup for it in smell and hearing.
Easy to Handle
Carpet pythons are very easy to handle when tamed and will always be ready to eat, and will be easy to control even if you hold it in public. Well-trained snakes can be held by their handlers in public events, at home, or even while with many people. As long as the handler is relaxed, so will the snake.
Hard to Breed For Wild-Caught Specimens
According to breeders, it’s impossible to breed two wild-caught pythons compared to pythons that are bred in captivity. This is the reason why almost all pythons sold in pet shops are from captive breeding. With this kind of breeding, you can be sure that your snakes are healthy and possess good genetics.
Regular shedding means that you have a healthy snake. Pythons shed monthly, and during the shedding process, the new skin pushes the old skin to accommodate the growing size of the python. Shedding is frequent in young or juvenile pythons, while adults may only shed a few times in a year. But if your snake is not shedding at all, then this could indicate malnutrition or other medical problems. Whether you have a young or adult snake, monitor shedding and deal with incomplete shedding at once.
In the wild, the Carpet Python prefers to remain in forested areas. It is native in mainland Australia and is widely distributed in the forested areas of Southwestern Australia. You can also find carpet pythons in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Yule Island. It is found in a wide variety of habitats, especially from the rainforests of northern Queensland through River Red Gum or Riverbox woodlands in Murray and Darling Rivers.
Carpet snakes are often present in areas near human habitation, where it is known to be useful as a pest exterminator. Carpet pythons can eat rats and mice that can plague farms and barns. A certain subspecies known as the M. spilota can live in areas where there’s snow. It is a semiarboreal snake that can live in trees, but it does not rely on trees and is capable of living in other areas. And this versatile python is also found in grasslands that have hot and dry weather or climates.
The carpet python is not classified as threatened species, but the subspecies M. s. spilota is included in the threatened with extinction species in Victoria, Australia. The subspecies M. s. imbricate is near threatened in the area of Western Australia because of the loss of its natural habitat.
In captivity, Carpet Pythons should be kept in enclosures that are 3 feet deep, 4 feet in width, and at least a foot high. A glass terrarium can keep humidity better. Place an insulator to prevent the escape of heat and humid air from the enclosure. You may also accessories inside like plants and pots where the python can sleep, bask, and feed.
Lighting and Humidity
Choose a good lamp made for reptile enclosures. Maintain ideal temperatures which his from 88 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and reduced by five degrees at night. Always use a digital hygrometer and thermometer to measure and monitor temperature and humidity. Leave a pan of water inside the tank or a spray bottle or mister to add moisture in the tank and keep it humid.
Install a heating pad at one end of the tank to have a hot area of at least 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The rest may have an ambient temperature of 80 degrees. You may not need a light or lamp if you use a heating pad, but you may need a household fluorescent lamp if you want to view your snake.
Tank Bedding and Accessories
Use any kind of substrate, but Aspen bedding or aspen bark is a good choice. Use safe bedding and accessories for the carpet python. Mimic its natural habitat and use rocks and pebbles. If you must use rocks, choose only smooth rocks and sand, which are similar to the color as the snake’s skin, which can help it hide from threats.
The substrate should be spot-checked regularly to maintain tank cleanliness and hygiene. Use natural or artificial plants and place ledges so you can easily clean these. If you’re using live plants, remove any dried leaves or fallen leaves to keep the tank clean and healthy.
Clean the snake tank using natural cleaning agents such as lemon, baking soda, or vinegar; these will remove dirt and smell plus won’t be as toxic as chemical cleaners will. But if you want to use chemical products, follow directions on the product label carefully.
Rinse the tank completely and dry with paper towels before placing back the accessories, substrate, and the carpet python. You should also clean humidifiers, fans, and filters to replace the filters or clean them if this is reusable at least every two months.
Place a dish of clean water inside the tank. The snake will drink water, and this may also help improve humidity in the tank. The dish should be heavy and must be made of ceramic or clay and not plastic, so this won’t spill or move.
Another way to is to spray the tank with water using a mister. The snake can also lick water from the side of the tank or on the accessories or plants to drink. Check humidity to find out if you need to increase it.
Availability – Where to Get One?
You can get a Carpet Python from a local pet shop or an online reptile store. You must order from a reputable dealer or pet store to guarantee good health.
Carpet Pythons can cost anywhere from $100 to $200, and the price depends on the gender, size, color markings, and length; consider that shipment costs make it more expensive to buy a Carpet Python online, so breeders tend to look for these in a local store.
How to Care for a Carpet Python?
Remember the following when caring for a Carpet Python
- You must feed your python size-appropriate meals like mice, rats, insects, arthropods, and lizards. Carpet Pythons will immediately swallow its food whole, and this is the best way to add some supplements or multivitamins in your snake’s diet through gut-loaded food. Gut loading is placing supplements inside the body of its prey, such as pinkie mice, lizardsto, and rats.
- Hold your pet early to help it adjust to your handling. Handling will also reduce the python’s shyness. Pick the carpet python from below than the head. Support the largest part of the body using one hand and the other hand to support forward from the area. If you are dealing with a new snake, use a snake hook to avoid accidental bites.
- Always maintain tank cleanliness and orderliness by spot cleaning it regularly, change or wash substrate more often to prevent medical conditions. Do not reuse bedding or substrate to avoid contaminating the tank.
- Carpet pythons can be kept on different substrates. Use newspapers, paper towels, or brown paper. These are easier to clean and are available almost anywhere.
- Other decent substrates include Aspen or cypress wood because these can also absorb odors.
- Always monitor tank temperature and humidity using a reliable digital thermometer and hygrometer.
- Put a dish of water inside the tank to enhance humidity, or you may use a spray bottle to mist the interiors.
- Provide good food after shedding and hydrate its tank by misting to ensure complete shedding.
- A Carpet python should be taken to a vet for any medical problem. Never delay treatment for respiratory problems, severe cuts and wounds, and parasites. Remember that your snake won’t be able to tell you if it is sick or unwell. It’s your job as a snake handler to detect this early on.
How big does a Carpet python get when in captivity?
Adult Carpet pythons can grow from 6 feet long and can weigh up to 6 pounds. Some Carpet pythons can grow larger in the wild.
How often should you feed a Carpet python?
Adults should be fed with live mice every 5 days or once a week. Some breeders also feed their snakes once mice every other week. After feeding a Carpet python, let it rest for at least 24 hours to give them time to digest their meal.
Do Carpet pythons need high humidity?
Yes, Carpet pythons need up to 80% humidity to live healthy and happy inside its tank. This humidity level will help them shed their skin better and to prevent complications of shedding like incomplete shedding.
Do Carpet pythons need lighting?
Carpet pythons don’t require any supplemental lighting. Usually, bright and continuous light can be very stressful to snakes, which are nocturnal animals. If there is sunlight from a window or door, this may be all the light your snake needs.
How often will Carpet pythons shed their skin?
Carpet pythons can shed their skin every 6 to 8 weeks when they are young and 8 to 10 weeks when these reach their adult size. The shedding process happens in 9 days and may be affected by factors like temperature and humidity.
Are Carpet pythons arboreal?
Carpet pythons are classified as semi-arboreal, nonvenomous, and sometimes solitary creatures. You’ll also find Carpet pythons living longer in captivity and shorter in the wild because of its predators.
Are bites from Carpet pythons venomous?
Carpet pythons are nonvenomous, but bites can cause extreme localized pain, swelling, and possible infection if this is not dealt with immediately. Constriction is more dangerous in pythons compared to their bites.
How many eggs will a female Carpet python lay?
A healthy female Carpet python will lay a clutch with 15 eggs. Females are known to be protective of her clutch and may even coil around it for many weeks until these hatches.
Are carpet pythons good first snakes?
No, carpet pythons are not starter snakes. These snakes are heavy and will only be very difficult to handle for inexperienced handlers. A good first-time snake would be ribbon snakes and garter snakes.
Can carpet pythons recognize their owners?
No, carpet snakes are unable to recognize their owners, but some breeders say that their pets are able to and in fact, can distinguish them from other people. They say that their snakes are able to know the way they hold it and how they take it out of their cages.
Can pythons eat fruits?
Pythons will not eat fruits. It will not eat vegetables, only meat, because this is a carnivorous snake. It will only eat small mammals such as rodents, lizards, insects, and more.
How long will carpet pythons handle without food?
Carpet pythons can go for weeks without food for as long as it has eaten well. In the wild, it can hunt food and miss causing it to go hungry for days. But you must not attempt to do this; feed young carpet snakes daily and adults every week.
Can you place your python in a small container?
Yes, you can place it in a small food container provided you are transporting it but not as its permanent cage or home. Always mimic the python’s natural environment when you create a python enclosure.
What happens when a carpet python bites you?
A python has large fangs, and this can bite and grab the flesh. If you are bitten by a python, grab its head if it does not want to let go. After the snake has released its mouth, clean the wound with soap and water, and use a disinfectant to clean the wound. Visit a doctor at once.
Will you die if you are bitten by a carpet python?
If you are bitten by a carpet python, you won’t die because this does not have any venom. The only thing you have to worry about is a painful bite.
Are pythons better than other snakes?
Pythons are far better than other snakes when it comes to color, handling, size, and temperament. As long as you care for your pet and clean its tank regularly, you can guarantee a healthy and happy snake.
How can you tell if pythons are legal in your area?
Contact a local vet or animal department in your area or county to understand the legality of keeping pythons like carpet pythons in your area.
Can carpet pythons escape their cages?
Yes, these are powerful snakes and will escape their cages if they can. These have powerful muscled bodies that can also squeeze through bars and cracks, so be sure to secure the tank cover completely, especially at night.
Will pythons handle noise?
Pythons are sensitive animals, and although these don’t have regular ears that humans have, they can still hear loud noises. Very loud noises can stress it and may affect its behavior, so don’t expose it to extremely loud noises.
How do carpet pythons sleep?
Carpet pythons don’t close their eyes, so they will simply remain motionless and curled up to sleep. You can see pythons with heads bent down, signaling that they don’t want to be disturbed.
Do carpet pythons make a sound?
No, carpet pythons don’t make any kind of sound. These snakes are not as vocal and musical as cobras, but their bite is just as painful.
How do you handle carpet pythons when shedding?
When your pet is shedding, just let it be because this is a natural thing for snakes. It may not eat while shedding and will only eat afterward, so offer nutritious food after and monitor if it has shed completely.
Will mother carpet pythons eat her young?
No, mother pythons are known to be protective of her young and will do all she can to shield these from harm, even wrapping its body around the nest. It won’t eat the young of other snakes either.
Can you travel with a pet python?
Sometimes there are restrictions on traveling with an exotic animal like carpet pythons, so understand these regulations before you travel. Airlines, ships, and trains may have separate rules, so check these out first before booking travel.
Are pythons illegal to trade?
In some countries and US states, pythons are considered illegal to buy and to take care of, but in some countries, it is perfectly ok. Understand these regulations before you order a pet python online.
How do you remove ticks on pythons?
Ticks are a menace and can lodge between scales. Remove these by placing your snake in warm water for about 15 minutes. The tick will be removed gently plus will also hydrate your snake’s body.
Is it safe to buy pet pythons online?
There are reputable pet stores that sell pythons online. Check out reviews about the seller or the shop and check recommendations from customers as well.
Is it expensive to buy a python online?
Yes, it is very expensive to buy anything online because of delivery or shipment fees. It is even costlier if you live abroad.