Animal Facts

Carpet Python

Introduction

The carpet python is a large snake in the python family. It is found across Australia, and to a lesser extent in Papua New Guinea, West Papua (Indonesia), and the Solomon Islands. There are a number of subspecies of carpet pythons that vary in size, coloration, and geographical range. The carpet python can be found across a wide variety of habitats, and is adaptable to different climates. Because of its ability to survive in different habitats, the carpet snake is considered to be of low conservation concern, saying that, it is exhibiting population declines likely due to habitat loss. Even though it is of Least Concern with the World Conservation Union, there are still laws protecting it, and it is illegal to take wild snakes for the pet trade.

Characteristics

Carpet pythons are also known as diamond pythons due to the diamond pattern found on their backs.

Carpet pythons are large tree snakes that are semi-arboreal. They spend much of their time in trees, and enjoy climbing. They are often found near where humans live as this provides them with a steady supply of rodents to eat. Carpet pythons are nocturnal, spending most of the day resting in trees or basking in the sun and coming out at night to hunt.

Carpet pythons are constrictors. They catch their prey by wrapping around them and squeezing very tight until they are dead. This allows them to catch prey that may otherwise be too big for them to eat. Once the prey animal has been killed the carpet python will swallow it whole. It will then take a few days to digest the meal. Carpet pythons do not need to feed every day.

Appearance

As with all snakes, carpet pythons are long and relatively thin. They have a triangular head with a long forked tongue, small eyes, no visible ears, and a very long tail. They have no legs or arms.

Carpet pythons can come in a variety of colors. They are usually greyish-green, dark brown, or black, and have yellowish markings in the shape of diamonds. Some varieties like the jungle carpet python are a spectacular golden color with deep black markings.

Life Stages

Carpet pythons have three main life stages: hatchlings, juveniles, and adults. Female carpet pythons lay anywhere from 10 to 50 eggs in a hidden nest area. Hatchlings emerge about 40 days later, the width of a pencil and 12 to 14 inches long. As they grow they become juveniles until they are about 4 feet long. At this point they are considered adults.

Life Span

Carpet pythons can live for as much as 20 years or more in captivity. In the wild this is likely reduced.

Size

Carpet pythons are large pythons that can grow up to 13 feet long. The smallest carpet pythons are about 4 feet long, and the average length is 9 to 10 feet. That is the same as 1 or 2 car lengths long! The carpet python is also pretty heavy. It can weigh as much as 30 pounds. Female carpet pythons are usually longer and heavier than males.

Habitat

Carpet pythons live in a variety of habitats. They are often found in rainforests where it is very hot, wet, and humid. They can also be found in woodlands near rivers, and in dry areas with few trees. Some subspecies of carpet pythons live in hot and dry grasslands. They are often found close to humans.

Diet

Carpet pythons mainly eat rodents. They will also eat other small mammals, birds, frogs, and lizards. They have been known to attack domestic animals if their regular food supply is scarce. Some carpet pythons have been known to take animals as large as chickens or wallabies. In captivity they usually eat rats.

Friends and Enemies

Carpet pythons are large predators that do not really have any friends in the wild. As they are so large there are few things that will try to eat it, at least as an adult, but there are many species it will eat. Most birds, small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians do not like the carpet python. One species in particular, the cane toad, is an enemy to the carpet python. The snake will eat the toad, which is poisonous, and both species will end up dying.

Humans are the carpet python s main friends. Many humans like having carpet pythons are pets, and there is a large pet trade and breeding program. One variety, jungle carpet pythons, are especially popular due to their bright colors.

Suitability as Pets

Carpet pythons are suitable as pets as long as they are given plenty of room and are treated carefully. As carpet pythons are very large snakes they have the ability to hurt or even kill a human or another animal. They must be kept fed regularly and caution should be taken when feeding them. As a young snake they may nip or bite. This will subside as they grow older. They are very popular among snake enthusiasts.

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