Carpet Python

Carpet Python

Reptiles

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: carpet python
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Squamata
FAMILY: Boidae
GENUS SPECIES: Morelia spilotes variegata

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: Carpet pythons are medium-sized pythons. They are named for their beautiful markings, which resemble an oriental carpet pattern. They can have black-to-gray patterns of blotches, cross bands, stripes, or a combination of these markings on a light yellowish-to-dark brown background.
SIZE: Adults measure 2-3.6 m (6.5-12 ft.) in length; average adult length is 2.4 m (8 ft.); carpet python hatchlings are approximately 30 cm (12 in.) in length
WEIGHT: No data
DIET: Variety of birds and mammals, including marsupials
INCUBATION: Average of 40 days

Even though a carpet python is not warm-blooded, a female can raise her body temperature by twitching her muscles. This muscular activity creates enough warmth to incubate the eggs. The incubation temperature of the eggs may determine the young snakes' sexes, just as with some other reptiles.
CLUTCH SIZE Up to 18 eggs
SEXUAL MATURITY: 2.5-3 years
LIFE SPAN: Large bodied snakes, like the carpet python, can live more than 20 years in the natural environment, and even longer in controlled settings.
RANGE: Carpet pythons are found in Australia (except central western and extreme southeastern regions) and New Guinea.
HABITAT: They live in a variety of habitats from eastern coastal rain forests to central desert areas.
POPULATION: GLOBAL No data
STATUS: IUCN Not listed
CITES Appendix II
USFWS Not listed

FUN FACTS

1. Pythons are primitive snakes that have vestigial or leftover pelvic girdles and hind limbs that show up externally as a pair of "spurs" near the base of the tail. Male pythons use these spurs during courtship and mating.
2. Nesting behavior depends on a particular carpet python's range - terrestrial desert snakes use other animals' abandoned burrows in which to lay eggs, while arboreal or tree-dwelling forest snakes use tree hollows.

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

Many snakes in the python family are collected from the wild for the pet trade. Adults are collected for their attractive skins and slaughtered for their leather.

In many parts of the world, over-collection of these predators has resulted in ecological imbalances that often affect local people. Larger snakes frequently feed on nuisance animals such as rodents that destroy crops and spread disease. Also, many other important predators like birds-of-prey feed on young snakes. This means that snakes fulfill roles as both predators and prey in regional food chains.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Coborn, John. The Atlas of Snakes of the World. New Jersey: T.F.H. Publications, inc. 1991.

Mehrtens, John M. Living Snakes of the World. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 1987.

Stafford, Peter J. Pythons and Boas. New Jersey: T.F.H. Publications, Inc., 1986.