Black whip snake Yellow-faced whip snake Common death adder Eastern brown snake Small-eyed Snake Red-bellied black snake Red-naped snake Coastal taipan Carpet python Spotted python Woma Black-headed python Brown tree snake Common tree snake Keelback Ramphotyphlops spp. Burton's flap-footed lizard

Carpet Snake or Carpet Python
(Morelia spilota)

Non-venomous

Identification: Carpet snakes are extremely variable in colour and pattern. Most specimens are olive green, with pale, dark-edged blotches, stripes or cross-bands. 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. This species can grow to more than 3 m in length. Midbody scale rows 40–65; ventrals 240–310, narrow; anal single; subcaudals divided 60–95.

Distribution: This species is widespread and found throughout northern, eastern and southern Australia.

Habitat: Lives in open forests, rainforests, coastal heaths, rural lands, park lands and suburban gardens.

Habits: This snake is active both day and night and can be encountered on the ground, in trees or buildings (particularly chicken pens, barns and attics).

Danger: This species is non-venomous, but tetanus protection is recommended following bites.

Food: Feeds on frogs, lizards, birds, mammals. Cane Toads are sometime taken as prey with fatal consequences for the snake.

Breeding: 10–47 eggs are laid in early summer. The eggs are concealed in a sheltered site (beneath building materials, between hay bales, hollow stump or a depression in ground) and are incubated by the female who will `shiver' to generate heat. The female leaves the nest to bask in the morning sun and returns to her eggs in a pre-heated condition. Nesting females will defend their eggs. The hatchling snakes measure around 39 cm from the snout to the base of the tail (snout-vent length).

Similar species: This species is most similar to the Spotted Python, Antaresia maculosa, which is fawn to brown with numerous dark purplish-brown blotches. Adult Spotted Pythons are much smaller than Carpet Snakes and have 3 scales across the top of the head in a straight line between the eyes.

Additional Information: Carpet pythons are extremely diverse in appearance and seven geographical races or subspecies are recognised: Male Carpet Snakes have been observed fighting in spring.

  • Morelia spilota spilota - eastern New South Wales and north-eastern Victoria;
  • M. s. bredli - central Australia;
  • M. s. mcdowelli - north-eastern New South Wales and eastern Queensland;
  • M. s. cheynei - Wet Tropics area of north-eastern Queensland;
  • M. s. metcalfei - Murray/Darling drainage;
  • M. s. imbricata - southern Western Australia;
  • M. s. variegata - northern Northern Territory and Western Australia.