The Diamond Python, Morelia spilota spilota, is a large species with more than 40 rows of mid-body scales. It has a basic colour pattern of black with yellow spots and grows to around 3 m in length.
Diamond PythonPhotographer: Peter Robertson / Source: Wildlife Profiles Pty Ltd
Within Victoria, the Diamond Python is restricted to the coastal heaths of far East Gippsland.
Diamond Pythons will bask during the day, but are primarily nocturnal and hunt for small to medium-sized, warm-blooded vertebrates at night. The 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.
Diamond Pythons are non-venomous, but are capable of inflicting a painful bite. They kill their prey by constriction.
Diamond Python (close-up of head)Photographer: Peter Robertson / Source: Wildlife Profiles Pty Ltd
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.
Hi Sean. Thanks for your enquiry. We will pass this on to one of our staff members in live exhibits for their feedback on this. So watch this space.
Hi again Sean. We referred your enquiry about Diamond Python care to our Coordinator, Live Exhibits. We have similar snakes to these pythons and he referred us to a website that has good, reliable, detailed information on Diamond Python care: http://www.dolittlefarm.com.au/docs/diamonds.pdf
We hope this helps you out and good luck!
Hi Kate, thanks for your enquiry, the Diamond Python, Morelia spilota spilota is usually found in the coastal regions of NSW (Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, H. C. Cogger, 2000). Another subspecies, morelia spilota variegate, commonly known as a Carpet Python is found in northern Queensland.
Hi Lorraine, you will see from the information posted previously, the Diamond Python is usually found in the coastal area of New South Wales and the Carpet Python sometimes found in Northern Queensland. You may find contacting the Queensland Museum or Brisbane's Alma Park Zoo helpful with providing a scientific identification of the snake.
Hi Carlo - we referred your question to our Live Exhibits experts, who said that six months without handling may make the snake a little more nervous. However if it was quiet previously it should remain pretty quiet – particularly at a mature age. Most good tempered adult pythons remain so for life.
Hi Deleena, if you have not had this snake for all that long you are possibly experiencing its first slough. This is when it peels back its old scales to reveal the new ones underneath. Pythons tend to do this in one long sock so you can dry the old scales and keep them to monitor its growth. Once they start to shed their scales it is best to leave them to it. Sometimes, they struggle to get them off in which case a water bath, some rocks and some manual help may be required.
We forwarded your enquiry to our Live Exhibits team, and they responded with the following:
Snakes are not the only potential culprit. Rats are well known for attacks like this, as are possums. They are usually smart enough to work out how to open cages and will simply carry the bird out and eat it somewhere else.
If a snake entered the cage and ate the bird it is unlikely that it would be able to get out afterwards. Many people have in fact used bird cages to trap escaped snakes as they snake enters the cage and then is too large to escape once it has eaten the occupant.
If a snake is to blame it is most likely a Diamond python native to the Sydney region.
We forwarded your question to Museum Victoria’s Live Exhibits team who provided us with the following information:
A two foot long diamond python would be approximately 12 months old, and has most likely wandered into the home as it has moved from its place of birth looking to set up its own territory. Clutches of 20 eggs are not uncommon but mortality in juvenile snakes is very high, with only a small percentage surviving to adulthood.
The ideal temperature for a snake of this type is 20 degrees overnight temperature and about 24-25 during the day. The bottom of the enclosure is the coolest part, so it will always be warmer higher up (as heat rises). There should also be a warm spot available for a couple of hours in the middle of the day, to allow the snake to bask as it would naturally. A warm spot is most easily supplied by a basking lamp on a timer, which enables the snake to move back and forth into the most suitable location temperature-wise.
We forwarded your enquiry to the Museum's Live Exhibits team, who responded with the following information:
Diamond Pythons can feed on fuzzies (velvets) from the egg stage. If they do have any problems feeding you can always revert to pinkies, but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t take fuzzies. The snake will grow in size proportional to the amount of food it consumes – a 14 week old python can eat once a week, and you can try adult mice any time from now on. If it doesn’t take adult mice, keep feeding it fuzzies until it does.
Skinks are native wildlife (including those from your own backyard) so it’s illegal to collect them for any reason without a licence. It’s also not necessary as there are plenty of other food options available, and there is definitely no need to feed them live in this situation.
Diamond Pythons are restricted to coastal areas of eastern Australia and don't inhabit arid or semi-arid areas, so they have no particular adaptations to water conservation. Various types of Carpet Pythons, members of the same species as Diamond Pythons but different subspecies, do inhabit the drier areas of the country. Diamond Pythons will sit in water and can generally tolerate wetter conditions than Carpet Pythons.
Female diamond pythons lay between 15-20 eggs, which usually take between 2-3 months to hatch. The females lay their eggs approximately 2 months after breeding takes place and they incubate their eggs at 25OC by coiling around the eggs. Female snakes in the wild may only lay eggs once every three years. Breeding pythons can be a complex procedure as specific temperature changes and habitat are vitally important at each stage of the breeding cycle. If you need to investigate getting a permit to own these animals please refer to the relevant information here.
The 'tail' of the python is the area posterior to the cloaca - the very end of the snake. Eggs are produced further up the snake, so a fat tail may indicate a well-fed snake rather than anything to do with eggs production.
Diamond Pythons (Morelia spilota spilota) will usually feed on rat-sized prey but have been known to take possums. If the python is to live in your garden it will need to eat, just as the rats and possums do, and is as much a part of the local ecosystem as they are.
30 degrees is too hot for a Diamond Python (Morelia spilota spilota). They should be kept at 24-28 degrees, even when young, as they won’t feed at high temperatures. During winter at this time of year they can be kept unheated, as long as they are inside and are more or less at room temperature. It’s highly unusual to have eight week old snakes during winter, even from a dealer – Diamond Pythons are obligate spring and summer breeders so the young are inevitably older than eight weeks in July.
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