Carpet pythons (Morelia spilota) are 5-9’ long, nocturnal, semi-arboreal snakes native to Australia and New Guinea. Different subspecies achieve different adult lengths. Carpet pythons get their common name from their pattern, reminiscent of Middle Eastern carpets. Coloring varies by subspecies, from highly contrasted black and yellow markings to lower-contrast tan, brown or beige coloring. A variety of colorful morphs have also been developed by carpet python breeders.
Due to their size and more defensive dispositions, carpet pythons are generally considered to be an intermediate- to advanced-difficulty pet.
The minimum enclosure size for a carpet python is 6’L x 2’W x 4’H. For ease of access and to support your python’s mental health, the enclosure should open from the front and have opaque sides. Make sure it’s also well secured against escape.
Choose a substrate that will support the higher humidity levels that carpet pythons need. This can be cypress mulch, coconut fiber, or reptile soil. Layering leaf litter on top will help maintain humidity. Replace the substrate regularly to maintain good hygiene.
In addition to substrate, you will also need multiple places for the snake to hide, and sturdy branches for climbing. A shallow water bowl should be provided, large enough to allow the snake to soak in as desired. Clean out the water bowl with animal-safe disinfectant whenever soiled, and keep the water clean and fresh.
Heating and Lighting
Carpet pythons are nocturnal, which means that they don’t need UVB for survival. That being said, it is highly beneficial when used correctly. You will need a Zoo Med or Arcadia bulb half the length of the enclosure, housed in a reflective fixture, and of an appropriate strength for carpet pythons. UVB bulbs decay over time, so it will need to be replaced every 12 months.
Your carpet python will also need a temperature gradient from warm to cool. The temperature on the warm side should be around 90°F for basking. Use a cluster of halogen flood bulbs to create a basking area large enough to heat the snake’s coiled body evenly. The cooler side of the enclosure should be in the low 70’s and heating should be turned off at night.
Carpet pythons require humidity levels around 50%. Monitor the humidity level with a digital probe hygrometer and use a pressure sprayer to help maintain that humidity.
Food and Supplementation
Like other snakes, carpet pythons are carnivorous. In captivity, they primarily eat rats, chicks, and quail. Vary the size of the rat with the width of the snake. Most carpet pythons are fed a single frozen and thawed rat every 2 weeks. If live prey is used, the snake must be supervised during feeding to ensure that it’s not harmed by the feeder. However, frozen and thawed is safer. Carpet Pythons should not be handled for 1-2 days after ingesting their prey to prevent regurgitation.
Although carpet pythons should be able to obtain all their nutrition from whole prey, a dietary supplement is good for covering the gaps. Use Repashy CalciumPlus LoD to provide additional calcium, vitamin D3 and a variety of other vitamins and minerals.
*This care sheet contains only very basic information. If you are new to carpet pythons, please do additional research to obtain additional information from more detailed care sheets.