Carpet pythons are medium-sized non venomous snakes. These snakes are heavy bodied and grow and are very impressive looking. These species of snakes are known for their distinctive and impressive black and yellow markings. The markings can vary extensively. They are named for their beautiful markings, which resemble an oriental carpet pattern.
Carpet snakes are extremely variable in colour and patterns. Colours can range from a lemon yellow colour to a pale yellow, deep gold, or ivory. The patterns consist of freckles, stripes, bands, blotches or combinations of those. These patterns acts as superb camouflage for the snakes as they lie in ambush for passing prey, either amongst leaf litter on the forest floor or amongst the branches of trees and shrubs.
The juveniles are similarly patterned, but often in shades of brown rather than olive green. A row of deep pits can be seen along the lower jaw and many small scales are present on the top of the head.
Carpet pythons have noticeably robust body and large triangular head. They have heat sensitive pits on their upper and lower lips, which help them to detect the body heat of their prey.
They are largely nocturnal, climbing trees and shrubs as well as crossing open areas such as rock faces, forest floors and even roads. However, basking behaviour is commonly observed. They are usually active at night and spend most of the day coiled up in a tree, or stretched out basking in an open area.
They are oviparous, with females laying 10-50 eggs at a time. Females coil around the eggs to protect them and keep them warm through using muscular contractions to generate heat. The female leaves the nest to bask in the morning sun and returns to her eggs in a pre-heated condition. This incubation lasts around 10-15 weeks. Nesting females will defend their eggs. The hatchling snakes measure around 39 cm from the snout to the base of the tail.
The length of these snakes reaches between 6.6 feet to 13 feet and weigh up to 15 kilos. Males are typically smaller than females.
The diet of carpet pythons mainly consists of small mammals, birds, bats and lizards. They kill their prey by constricting it until it suffocates. They can normally be seen feeding after dark.
Carpet pythons are found in Australia, Indonesia and New Guinea. These snakes live in open forests, rainforests, park lands and suburban gardens. They are also found in temperate grasslands with hot and dry weather.
Carpet pythons have a lifespan of about 15 to 20 years.