THE REPTILES OF AUSTRALIA - PYTHONS

AUSTRALIAN REPTILE PHOTOS AND INFORMATION
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REPTILES OF THE WORLD SPECIES LISTS


(NOT VENOMOUS)

NORTHERN CARPET PYTHON
(North-western, Darwin, Papuan or Cape York Carpet Python)
(Morelia spilota variegata)
As most captive Northern Carpet Pythons come from the general area around Darwin, they are usually referred to as "Darwin Carpets" in the Pet trade, however the subspecies occurs in Western Australia and Queensland as well as a large area of Northern Territory and New Guinea.

Note that The Papuan Carpet Python is also currently known as Morelia spilota variegata but is sometimes referred to as Morelia spilota harrisoni

Morelia spilota variegata Darwin or Northwestern Carpet Python   
Adult Northern Carpet Python (Morelia spilota variegata)



Approximate distribution of the Australian distribution of the Northern Carpet Python (Morelia spilota variegata) is Dark Brown in the map above!
This sub-species (Morelia spilota variegata) also occurs in New Guinea where it is sometimes referred to as Morelia spilota harrisoni.

Note that the distribution map is a very rough guide only, in some areas there may be intergrades between the subspecies, and snakes from those areas may be hard to categorize as they may have characteristics of more than one subspecies.


Northwestern Carpet Python (Morelia spilota variegata) photographed at Snakes Downunder Reptile Park & Zoo, Childers, Qld.
Northern Carpet Python (Morelia spilota variegata) photographed at Snakes Downunder Reptile Park & Zoo, Childers, Qld.


Morelia spilota variegata Darwin or Northwestern Carpet Python
Many pythons look at their best when they first get their adult patterning (above).
The Northern Carpet Python (Morelia spilota variegata) in the 2 pictures below still has its hatchling coloration, typical for young Northern Carpet Pythons

Morelia spilota variegata Darwin or Northwestern Carpet Python
Juvenile Northern Carpet Python (Morelia spilota variegata)


Morelia spilota variegata Darwin or Northwestern Carpet Python
This Juvenile Northern Carpet Python (Morelia spilota variegata) has its body in a coil and its mouth open ready to strike. Note the strongly forked tongue present in all snakes and some lizards, and just behind that is the glottis (breathing tube) which can be extended forward when the snake is swallowing large food to allow it to continue feeding.

Morelia spilota variegata Darwin or Northwestern Carpet Python
Juvenile Northern Carpet Python (Morelia spilota variegata) hatching


Northwestern Carpet Python (Morelia spilota variegata) at Karunda Koala Gardens, Qld
Northern Carpet Python (Morelia spilota variegata) at Karanda Koala Gardens, Qld


Lady showing off a pet Northern Carpet Python (Morelia spilota variegata) at Karunda Markets, Qld
Lady showing off a pet Northern Carpet Python (Morelia spilota variegata) at Karanda Markets, Qld


Morelia spilota variegata Darwin or Northwestern Carpet Python
Adult Northern Carpet Python (Morelia spilota variegata)


Notice what is left of the egg sac in the video above. It either gets absorbed or dries up after hatching.

________________________________________________________________________

ALBINO CARPET SNAKES

Adult Albino Carpet Python (Morelia spilota) clearly showing the heat sensing pits on the upper and lower lips
Adult Albino Carpet Python (Morelia spilota) clearly showing the heat sensing pits on the upper and lower lips

Morelia spilota variegata Darwin or Northwestern Carpet Python
Albino Carpet Python (Morelia spilota variegata)

All albino Carpet Snakes in captivity in Australia are descended from this subspecies, however it appears some have been crossed with other subspecies. Note that crossing subspecies in South Australia (and possibly some other states) is illegal. My understanding is that there were 2 original albino snakes. One of those was called Blondie who was probably the best known snakes in Australia.

If you cross an albino with a "normal" carpet python you will get no albino babies,
but all babies will be carrying the albino gene because the "normal" gene is dominant, whereas the albino gene is recessive.
A normal looking snake carrying the albino gene is called a Het (short for Heterozygous) normal x normal = all normal

het x normal = 1/4 het. 3/4 albino

het x het = 1/4 albino 1/2 het 1/4 normal

het x albino = 1/2 albino 1/2 het

albino x albino = all albino

Note that when you cross a het with an albino there is no easy way of telling which snakes are normal and which ones are hets,
however the chance that a normal looking snake from this clutch is a het is 66% so the babies are called 66% hets.

A snake which known to definitely be a het is often called a 100% het to differentiate it from a 66% het.


Hatchling albino Northern Carpet Python (Morelia spilota variegata)

LINKS OF INTEREST

"There have been various proposals to further split variegata into additional subspecies but these have not been tested in any way" - Australian Society of Herpetologists November 2023

The Papuan Carpet Python
(Morelia spilota variegata or Morelia spilota harrisoni) from New Guinea

Carpet Python Complex
Morelia spilota, Morelia bredli, Morelia imbricata

INFORMATION ABOUT AUSTRALIAN PYTHONS
Australianherpetology.com


RECOMMENDED AMAZON BOOKS
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Complete Carpet Python, A Comprehensive Guide to the Natural History, Care, and Breeding of the 'Morelia spilota' Complex

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OTHER LINKS

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Pythons of the World

Boas of the World

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AUSTRALIAN PYTHON SPECIES LISTS BY STATE OR TERRITORY

Pythons of Australia

Pythons of South Australia

NSW PYTHON SNAKES - Pythonidae

Qld PYTHON SNAKES - Pythonidae

Northern Territory PYTHON SNAKES - Pythonidae

LISTING OF WESTERN AUSTRALIAN PYTHONS

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AUSTRALIAN REPTILE SPECIES LISTS BY STATE OR TERRITORY

Reptiles of South Australia
REPTILES OF VICTORIA
REPTILES OF NSW REPTILES OF QUEENSLAND REPTILES OF NORTHERN TERRITORY REPTILES OF Western Australia Reptiles of the ACT(Canberra)

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MORE REPTILE SPECIES LISTS

Reptiles of Lord Howe Island

Reptiles of Christmas Island

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Reptiles of Australia

Selection of Australian Frogs

Reptiles of the World

Amphibians of the World

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Frogs
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Contact John Fowler Author of the Australian Herpetology Website, Pythons of the World, and the Adelaide Reptile Forum

Contact John Hollister Author of John Hollister Reptile Collection - Herping the Trans-Pecos & Sweetwater, Texas Rattlesnake Roundup

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Updated February 26, 2024


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