Getting a Python & Care Guides

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Fast Carpet Python (Morelia spilota) Snake Facts:
How long will my Carpet Python live? They can live 25+ years
How big will my Carpet Python grow? They will grow to between 1.8 and 3.5 metres
What size of tank is recommended for my Carpet Python? They require an enclosure of at least 120 x 60 x 60cm
What does a Carpet Python eat? - Frozen mice, rats, quails and rabbits.
How easy is it to look after a snake? They are a low maintenance pet

The Skeletal Remains of a Python Skull

Before deciding on getting a Python, there is a few things to consider.

- Space
Having the space to provide housing for a reptile may start fairly small. This will change as your python grows, requiring more space as his or her enclosure becomes too small to call itself home. You will need to upgrade the sizing of the housing it remains in. These can come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so take your time and research the best size that fits both your space, and what your python requires.

- Temperament 
Whilst young hatchlings may be at different ends of the spectrum, some can be very placid and easy to handle. Whilst at the other end they can be feisty and strike at every opportunity. It is important to remember that even a well handled snake can strike at any time. Take pre-cautions when handling your python. Pythons tend to become a little more aggressive closer to feeding day, or when shedding. Learning your python takes time, and temperament does not depend on breed.

Heating can be a challenge when starting out. Learning to control your python's heat takes a little bit of practice. Thermostats can be one of the biggest aids in controlling your pythons enclosure, as well as the humidity. These thermostats control the temperature by switching on and off your heat lamp when it reaches a certain temperature inside the enclosure. It also allows a day and night cycle on your UV lights on a timer.
Carpet Python Licensing
All native reptiles are protected in NSW and a Reptile Keeper's licence must be obtained from the Office of Environment and Heritage to own one as a pet.
We have created a Shopping list to show what you need to look after a Carpet Python:
  • Enclosure; 120 x 60 x 60cm minimum
  • Water bowl
  • Hide
  • Substrate
  • Basking log
  • Background
  • Artificial plants
  • Heat fitting and globe
  • UV fitting and globe
  • Thermostat
  • Heat mat
  • Thermometer
  • Timer
  • Reptile disinfectant
  • Frozen food
  • Feeding tongs
  • Feeding enclosure

Carpet Python Housing
Carpet pythons are large, heavy bodied, semi-arboreal snakes. As adults it's important that they are housed in an enclosure with adequate height enabling them to climb.

For one adult carpet python, an enclosure of at least 120 x 60 x 60cm is recommended, however extra height is always beneficial. Hatchling pythons should be kept in a smaller enclosure for the first 10-12 months of their life. It is important that the enclosure has sufficient ventilation as well as a secure, lockable door.

The enclosure can be furnished to re-create the animals natural environment including the use of a background, artificial plants and rock ornaments as well as timber branches for climbing and basking. An absorbent substrate is also important such as coco fibre, aspen or kitty litter.

Carpet Python Care
Carpet Pythons have a very specific set of requirements in regards to general care, however if all of these elements are provided they are relatively low maintenance to keep.
Providing adequate temperature gradients within a python's enclosure is essential for their health and wellbeing. Most carpet pythons require a basking spot maintained between 30-34˚C and a cool end of 22-26˚C during the day. Night time temperatures should not drop below 21˚C, however specific temperature requirements vary between carpet python subspecies.

Temperatures should be checked daily and must be regulated with the use of a good quality thermostat. Recommended sources of heat include the use of incandescent, halogen or ceramic globes as well as heat mats and heat cords.
Being primarily nocturnal species, ultraviolet light (UV) is not as essential to carpet pythons (with the exception of diamond pythons) as it is to other species of reptile. However, CK Raw recommends the use of ultraviolet (UV) lighting with all python species.

There are a number of positive benefits to a python's health by providing them with UV lighting. A 5.0 UVB tube or compact globe is an ideal source of artificial UV light.

Pythons require a 'day and night' cycle with lights running for approximately 10-12 hours each day, set on a timer. Python's also benefit from short periods of access to unfiltered, natural light outdoors.

It is important to maintain high standards of cleanliness and hygiene within the python's enclosure. Daily 'spot checks' should be carried out and any faeces, shed skin or uneaten food removed immediately. A full substrate change should be carried out every 6-8 weeks (depending on what substrate is used) and the enclosure thoroughly cleaned with a reptile-safe disinfectant.

Carpet Python Feeding
In the wild, carpet pythons prey upon a variety of different animals including rodents, birds, possums and even bats. They are opportunistic, ambush predators and will eat whenever food is available.

In captivity, carpet pythons can be fed on a range of different foods depending on their age and size. Readily available python foods at CK Raw include commercially bred frozen Mice, Rats, and future sales will include Rabbits, and Quail

A juvenile python should be fed an appropriately sized rat or mouse once a week. Adult carpet pythons can be fed a large rat or rabbit every two to three weeks. Food items must be completely thawed and warmed up (place in zip lock bag in hot water) before being offered to the snake.

It is recommended to feed captive pythons in a designated 'feeding' tub, separate to their normal enclosure. Live rodents should never be offered to a python as this poses many potential risks to the snake.

It is also good practice to keep a record book of when a python eats, what sized food item it takes as well as when it sheds its skin. Fresh water should also be available to the python at all times and changed regularly.

Common health issues in Carpet Pythons
Mites: Reptile mites cause significant irritation to pythons. A python may submerge itself in it's water bowl if it is infested with mites.
Dysecdysis (Adnormal Shedding): Low humidity levels can sometimes result in a python having an 'incomplete' shed.
Respiratory Infection: A bacterial or viral infection that may be caused by incorrect temperature, inadequate ventilation or too much humidity.
Red flags
Is your Carpet Python showing any of the signs of disease or illness? If yes, please consult your reptile vet.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Consistently submerging in water bowl
  • Wheezing sound when breathing
  • Fluid or discharge from mouth or nostrils
  • Diarrhoea
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