Carpet Python Morelia spilota metcalfei

Snakes of Victoria series

Identification

The Carpet Python, Morelia spilota metcalfei, is a large species with more than 40 mid-body scale rows. Victorian specimens are usually dark grey in colour, with pale grey or cream patterning and grow to around 3 m in length.

Photo of Carpet Python

Carpet Python
Photographer: Peter Robertson / Source: Wildlife Profiles Pty Ltd

Distribution and habitat

Once fairly common in the warmer northern areas of Victoria, the Carpet Python is now confined to local populations where it lives in tree hollows, or crevices in rocks.

Biology and bite

This snake will bask during the day but is primarily nocturnal, hunting for small to medium-sized, warm-blooded vertebrates at night. Females lay a clutch of 10 to 30 eggs in a cluster and care for them. The pythons are the only Victorian snakes to exhibit any form of parental care.

Carpet Pythons are non-venomous, but are capable of inflicting a painful bite. They kill their prey by constriction.

photo of Carpet Python

Carpet Python
Photographer: Peter Robertson / Source: Wildlife Profiles Pty Ltd

Further Reading

Coventry, A. J. and Robertson, P. 1991. The Snakes of Victoria – A Guide to their Identification. Department of Conservation & Environment/Museum of Victoria.

Cogger, H. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed Books.

Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2003. Reptiles of Australia. Princeton University Press.

Comments (11)

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Brian Gladman 28 April, 2011 01:52
on the 15-4-2011 i was out in the bush in state forest near Ballarat vic, readying a camp area where i go and low and behold i came across what i beleive to be Diamond pythons mating. There would have been upto 15 to 20 that i saw, it was on a river flat in longish tusky grass. If you need photos i can send?
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Darren Gladman. 8 March, 2015 17:10
They absolutely were not diamond or carpet pythons as they do not live in or around the Ballarat area. Diamond pythons(morelia spilotia varagatia)start at about Merimbula/Eden, and go up the coast to about as far as Grafton NSW. Victorian carpet Pythons (Morelia spilota metcalfei) are referred to as Murray Darling Carpet pythons as they are normally found around these areas, but Ballarat is way too cold. I have heard that Vic carpets can be found at a mountain site around Wedderburn Victoria, and that they have been micro chipped and researched by the DNRE. I have no idea what you saw in the trees, and do not know of any aboreal species, python or elapadie, in or around the area.
Discovery Centre 1 May, 2011 11:52

Hi Brian,

If you send your photos to us, we'll pass them on to our Herpetologist. Hopefully we'll be able to identify them for you.

reply
Dave 7 November, 2014 19:17
And were they Diamond / Carpet pythons?
john norton 28 November, 2012 13:06
came across two carpet pythons on granite outcrop in strathbogie ranges. certain of species, but information i've read does not seem to suggest they are known to habitate this area.
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sharon 30 December, 2012 19:22
I used to radio-track carpet pythons for a Parks Vic survey in the Warby Ranges and down to Mt Meg area. Just a bit north from where you saw them John.
Rohan 12 February, 2016 16:09
We see these guys around our place on the Warby's several times a year. Found one wrapped around a grapevine in our vineyard during harvest last week and took a few good snaps. Also pretty often found in our roof - or at least their skins!
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Mick Griffiths 19 May, 2016 09:21
do murray darling pythons hibernate in captivity,and if so , what temp do you turn their snake enclosure down to
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Discovery Centre 14 June, 2016 12:21

Hi Mick,

There is debate amongst reptile breeders about whether Carpet Pythons (Morelia spilota subspp) need cooling (brumation) before breeding or not. Many breeders have considerable success without dropping the temperature, whereas others insist the pythons need a six week or so period of cool temperature like many other reptiles do to simulate the onset of winter and the maturation of the reproductive organs. In the latter case, the heater may be turned off at night or the enclosure temperature may be turned down to 20-23oC. If you don’t plan to breed, turning down the temperature is not at all necessary, and if you are planning to breed you’ll need to consider many other factors, such as the age and health of both snakes, how they will be introduced to each other, whether they have enough space and sufficient hiding places, etc.

Phoenix 30 November, 2016 00:01
Hi, I live in Point Cook, near a grass reserve and bird sanctuary. We get quite a few tiger snakes, however a neighbour is saying they saw a carpet python. I thought this area near the bay would be too cold. So I have a couple of questions: Are carpet pythons native to this area? Can they have similar markings to a tiger snake?
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Discovery Centre 1 December, 2016 11:09

Hi Phoenix

Carpet pythons are not native to Point Cook. It could be a mistaken identification, although Tiger Snakes are quite different looking. Another possibility is that it was an escaped pet, which does happen sometimes.

Thanks!

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