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Carpet python
Graceful sunbather 

Carpet python

Morelia spilota

Skin like a woven tapestry

The most common snake you might encounter at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is the carpet python.  This is because they are active during the day and night and love sun-bathing on warm rocks.  Our Rainforest Discovery Centre sits at the edge of the forest and provides excellent sunlit spots adjacent to frog-filled ponds.

Carpet pythons are widespread throughout Australia and can grow to lengths of over 3m.

They are typically olive green with dark grey and pale cream pattern akin to a tapestry, hence their common name.  The brightness of their colouration varies depending on age and season.  An old skin will appear quite dull whereas freshly shed scales will be vividly coloured.

Pythons catch their prey through strangulation not venom and are important predators in the forest food-web. They feed on lizards, frogs, mammals and birds.  Pythons patiently wait to ambush their next meal, using heat-sensing pits in their lower jaw to locate their prey.

Clutches of 10 - 47 eggs are laid in early summer, hidden in a sheltered nest.  The female python wraps her body around the eggs and shivers to generate heat in order to keep the eggs at optimal temperature.

The carpet python is a beautiful creature and like all snakes, is best admired from a distance.