Carpet Python (Morelia spilota)
Total Length – 3.6m
Occurs in forested areas of all mainland states. Common in our region with a habit of taking
up residence in sheds and the house roofs, particularly over the cooler winter
Adult carpet pythons are apex predators that often use a
“sit and wait’ or ambush hunting method, detecting warm bodied prey such as
possums and birds with the aid of heat sensing pits around their lips scales.
Once caught the prey is killed using constriction.
The python above was noticed coiled around a clutch of 23 eggs
which hatched after a period of 5 weeks.
For a detailed description of this species please refer to A Field Guide to Reptiles of Queensland by Steve K. Wilson
By Graham Armstrong
It is well documented
that Pythons guard their eggs until they hatch. The first picture below is of a
Carpet Python coiled over her eggs at Strathdickie during January 2017.
The Python was seen coiled like this regularly for a period of 5 weeks. On one
occasion in the fourth week she was observed basking in a patch of morning
sunlight about 1.5 meters from her eggs which allowed the eggs to be
photographed separately. Later in the day having warmed her body enough the
mother was again coiled around the eggs adding a little extra warmth to aid
their incubation. Finally, on the 1st of February the eggs were
observed hatching with several heads of the newly hatched young visible between
the mother’s coils. The next day the mother was obviously preparing to shed her
skin lurking, dull-scaled, nearby and many of the newborns that were visible
were still residing (30 hours later) in their opened eggs. They certainly
looked vulnerable but displayed no intention to seek shelter in the surrounding
undergrowth. However, on the following morning (3rd Feb) in was
noted that the mother and all the newborn had dispersed, nowhere to be seen,
leaving 23 empty egg shells as the only evidence that another generation of
carpet pythons had entered the web of life.