Carpet pythons a.k.a Morelia spilota sp.
Intro to Carpet Pythons
Carpet pythons are arguably one of the most beautiful reptiles in the hobby and make amazing showpiece animals with their vibrant colors and impressive size. They carry the exotic look of arboreal constrictors but offer the handleability of more docile species. The natural coloration of these snakes is already breathtaking, but breeders have also played around with genetics to create a variety of morphs. Albinos, zebras, axanthics, and many other morphs can be seen on the market.They’re a medium sized semi-arboreal python native to Australia and Papua New Guinea. Carpet pythons have many subspecies, each having unique patterns and colors. They get their name from their beautiful intricately patterned scales that range in a variety of vibrant yellows, deep golds, and reds that resemble Persian textiles. Carpet pythons can vary quite a bit with size. Some subspecies can reach lengths of up to 9 feet, and 4-5 feet at the smallest. These are also long lived animals having an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years. Expect an adult animal at 4 to 5 years of age.
Some of the most common subspecies of carpet pythons are the coastal, jungle, papuan, a darwin subspecies. Coastals are regarded as the largest on average, and one of the most available as well. Naturally occurring on the Eastern coast of Australia, this subspecies comes in mostly tan and brown colors but are also known to encompass most of the morphs available. Jungles are known for their high contrast black and yellow markings. Jungle carpets are mid-sized and inhabit a small portion of Northeastern Australia. Papuans and Darwin’s carpets are the smallest on average and are found on the Northern tip of Australia (Darwin’s) and the island of Papua New Guinea (Papuan). These tend to be adorned with olive hues with light tan or gold markings. Other subspecies do exist, but are not very common within the pet trade.
Carpet pythons are great eaters and rarely have issues taking a variety of prey items such as mice, rats, and chicks. These snakes can be fed once a week as juveniles, and can be fed every two weeks to a month depending on the size of the meal as adults. Always pay attention to how much you feed carpet pythons, as these snakes are commonly overfed. Carpets do not eat as much as other snakes naturally, and many larger animals tend to be overweight due to frequent feeding. The best way to gauge if your adult carpet python is overweight is by checking the separation from their head and neck. There should be a vast difference in thickness between the head and neck. Baby carpets can be housed in 10-20 gallon enclosures, and can be kept in long or tall enclosures being semi-arboreal in nature. As adults, an enclosure can measure at least 4ftx2ftx2ft, although they will appreciate extra space if possible. These nocturnal snakes are very hardy and tolerate a variety of climates in their native range which makes them very easy to care for in terms of heat and humidity. Basking temperatures should stay in the low to mid 90 degrees F, with ambient temperatures staying in the low 80 degrees F. If kept in a taller enclosure, heat is best provided via heat bulbs. Under-tank heat pads are another good source of heat, and work best with terrestrial enclosures. All heat elements should be set on one side of the enclosure to create a heat gradient. A water bowl should be provided at the opposite end of the heat. Humidity is easy to maintain. 60-65% humidity works for these snakes which is easy to maintain via humidity friendly substrate such as zoo med forest floor and reptisoil. Make sure to provide branches and other vertical decor to provide perching and climbing areas for the snake. Hides can be placed at the bottom of the enclosure as well.
Carpet Pythons For Sale in the Pet Trade
Carpet pythons mostly come captive bred, as most subspecies are native to Australia (which does not allow exportation of native wildlife). With that said, they can be a little more pricey compared to other snakes. The Papuan subspecies are the only ones that can be found wild caught. They are not necessarily rare but can prove to be an uncommon sight due to their low popularity. This is due to a few factors. The first is that they do not hatch out as pretty as their more popular competition, the ball python. Carpets gain their beautiful coloration with age, which is opposite to the ball python as they tend to fade with age. Carpet pythons are also very small as babies. This can lead many new keepers away towards other large body snakes such as boas and ball pythons which are already bigger as babies. Baby carpet pythons can also have a temper. You get what you give with this species, so if you don’t handle your carpet as a baby to let it get used to touch, the animal will not be very friendly or easy to handle. Babies may be snappy at first but are very easy to tame down with a few weeks of regular handling and can become great animals to handle regularly in no time. Overall, the carpet python is a great species to keep if you’re looking for something different than the normal selection of snakes, and are very beautiful and adaptable pets to have.