Many faces of Morelia spilota, the carpet python

An introduction to the forms of Australian carpet python Morelia spilota

Hi again, I have been looking through my archived pictures and want to share with you all some shots of one of my favorite snakes. In most of Australia it is quite common, when I lived on the east coast it was rare to go out at night and not see one. It’s the famous carpet python (Morelia spilota) and they are quite variable. Like most pythons they have heat sensing pits around the mouth. These are remarkable devices. Hyper sensitive to changes in heat, recent research suggests they are linked up with the nerves coming from the eyes so they can literally see heat as an overlay on their vision! There is also speculation this ability may be switched on and off at will. Whatever the case, they are beautiful animals and I’ll share what I have so far:

Morelia spilota carpet python

The variety found around the Top End

A bit snappy!

Top End carpet python (Morelia spilota variegata)

The first subspecies we will look at is this one. It’s not so common anymore, probably due to the westward march of cane toads across the top of Australia. Combined with poaching from the wild, which is rife around Darwin where this snake is found – it is getting harder to encounter in the wild.Like all of the subspecies of carpet python, this one is the right color to blend in with its surrounds- the savannah woodland.

The common or “garden” variety of carpet python from the east coast of Australia

The Eastern carpet python (Morelia spilota mcdowelli)

If you happen to live on the east coast of Australia, this is the most likely subspecies of carpet python you may see. Morelia spilota mcdowelli is rather abundant, in fact in the older suburbs of inner Brisbane you will find it lives unnoticed in around 50% of houses! Home owners are rarely aware as these snakes are quite happy to sit in the attic and gobble up all of the rodents. Free pest control without the poisons! You can’t lose. Oddly enough this subspecies is most similar to the western carpet python Morelia spilota imbricata. But if you keep chickens you may want to keep them secure at night…

The possible hybrid

I found this specimen in the forest near Tully, north Queensland. I’m not sure if it’s just a dull version of the next subspecies of carpet python or if it’s a hybrid with the eastern…

The beautiful jungle carpet python

Jungle carpet python

The last one for now is the most spectacular of them. The jungle carpet python (Morelia spilota cheneyi) is beautiful dark brown with canary yellow blotches. It is highly desired by collectors so I will not give the location of this picture. They are only found in a tiny speck on the map between Tully and the Atherton Tablelands in North Queensland.

Long live the Morelia spilota, the carpet python!

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