Python (Carpet) / Morelia spilota

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Carpet pythons are so called because their patterns resemble those on oriental carpets

Pythons are primitive snakes with vestigial pelvic girdles and hind limbs which show up a pair of spurs at the base of the tail. These are used by males during courtship and mating

The carpet python, or diamond python, is a medium sized member of the Pythonidae family which comes from Australia and Papua New Guinea.

They are found living in a range of habitats ranging from rain forest to the arid centre of Australia and are often the largest predator in these areas. They are largely nocturnal in habits and are also semi arboreal, climbing trees and shrubs. However, they do not completely rely on trees and are just as at home moving around on the ground.

Carpet pythons are constrictors and kill their prey by constricting it until it suffocates. The prey includes a range of small mammals including marsupials and bats, birds and lizards. In areas where it lives close to human habitation it fulfils a useful role as a pest controller by feeding on vermin.

Carpet pythons are oviparous, that is they reproduce by egg-laying. The 10-50 eggs are laid in tree holes or if living on the ground in holes dug by other animals. The female coils around the eggs after they are laid and keeps them warm by using the heat generated when she twitches her body muscles. The eggs hatch between 55 to 60 days and the hatchlings are approximately 30cm long.

Although relatively common, local populations are threatened by hunting for skins and capture for the pet trade.