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CARPET PYTHON

Reptile Rapture,
6308 Monona dr, Monona WI 53716
608-221-0094, www.reptilerapture.net

CARPET PYTHON Caresheet

Common Name: Carpet Python
Scientific Name: Morelia spilota
Origin: Native to a variety of habitats in Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and other islands in the region.
Size: 5-9 feet
Lifespan: 20+ years

You will find many ways on the internet on "how to" take care of this animal. This care sheet is showing the way we found works best for us from our many years of experience of breeding and caring for this species.


HOUSING

Carpet Python babies can start out in enclosures as small as 15 gallons. For a young adult, about 1 year old, you can step up to an enclosure that is at least 36" x 18" (Exo Terra Large, or Zilla 40 gal). For adults you will need an enclosure that is at least 4' x 2' or bigger. If you use a glass tank, you'll want to provide a humid hide--that is, a hide that has some damp moss in it for humidity or mist the enclosure good when they are in shed. Carpets are semi-aboreal, so if you can give them some height and something to climb, they will use it. All snakes are skilled escape artists. It's extremely important that your door is clipped or locked to prevent them from getting out.

You can use many types of bedding for your pet. The ones that work the best are Zoo Med repti bark, Zoo Med eco earth, and Zoo Med forest floor. Spot clean the bedding whenever they defecate. You should only need to clean the whole thing out about once a month. Disinfect the enclosure and change out the bedding at that time. Zoo Meds wipe out or vinegar and water both work good for cage cleaning.


LIGHTING AND HEAT

Carpet Pythons live in a variety of habitats in the wild—rainforest, coastal, and semi-arid regions. So they like it warm, though they need to be able to cool off if they want to. Like all reptiles, they are dependent on external thermoregulation to control their body temperature. This essentially means you need to provide both a hot and cool side to your enclosure. All the heat elements should be on one side and the other will then be the cool side. This way your snake can move back and forth between the different temperatures depending on its needs.

The hot side basking spot should be at 89-95 degrees. For babies, put one hide or perch there and another hide or perch on the cool side. (Adults usually don't need a hide.) The cool side can be between 75-80 degrees. It's a good idea to use a basking light and an under tank heat pad also. The heat pads are usually placed on the hot side with a hide over it. We recommend a Zoo Med heat mat or Exo Terra heat pad that stays on 24/7 to give them a little bit of supplemental heat during the night. Both of these are placed on the outside underneath the enclosure. You want a heat pad that only covers half the tank (or less). The basking light should be housed in a good quality light dome like Exo Terra and Flukers that has a ceramic housing to tolerate high heat and an on/off switch.

Use a good quality temperature gauge too, like Zoo Meds digital temp gauge or Exo Terras Thermometer to figure out the temperatures in your enclosure. Don't guess at it. You can also use a rheostat and/or timers to control your heat source. We do not recommend the use of hot rocks. They have a tendency to heat unevenly over too small an area and can cause serious burns.


HUMIDITY

Keep a non-porous water bowl in with your python and make sure they always have clean water. Exo Terras water bowls or Flukers water bowls are good decorative choices or a good ceramic crock dish. Scrub the bowl at least once a week to keep bacteria slime from building up. If you maintain a humidity level of around 65%, your snake will be able to shed properly. Hand misters are usually sufficient.


FEEDING

Carpet Pythons are known for being good eaters. Do not handle your snake for several hours before you are going to feed it. We do recommend feeding in its own enclosure. Feeding in its home will not make your pet more aggressive or associate you with food. For any snake, it's a good idea to get yourself a snake hook. This allows you to gently hook your snake out of its enclosure when you want to hold it. Check out these hooks: Exo Terra collapsible hook for babies and larger hooks for adults. Using a snake hook when you take your pet out will greatly reduce the chances of you being bit from a feeding response.

Hatchlings to 2 years
1 rodent of appropriate size once a week. This means the girth of the rodent should not exceed 1 1/2 times the girth of the snake (at it's biggest point, not his neck size) Do not handle your snake for at least 24 hours after it has eaten. Snakes in general tend not to eat when they are in shed. Just wait to feed until your pet sheds. Snakes over two years can eat every 2 weeks if you want. Make sure it's a decent size meal.


TEMPERAMENT

We consider this species to be good for people who have keep other snakes successfully before and are ready to try something more advanced. If you work with them they can be quite docile and easy to care for.

When holding your Carpet Python, always remember to support your snakes body. Once a python realizes that you will not hurt it, they often seem to enjoy (or at least tolerate) being handled. Relax and give your snake time to get used to you. Avoid touching the top of its head. Unless it knows and trusts you, touching the top of the head will cause it to jerk away from the touch. The fast movement of the snake tends to scare a lot of new snake owners. This is called being "head shy." A lot of pythons will get over it with gentle handling. Many carpets like to explore while you are holding them and will reach for bookshelves, drapes, whatever they think they can climb on. Pay attention to what your snake is doing behind you also.

Give your new pet at least a couple of days to settle in to its new home before handling. Start slow and gradually increase the amount of time you have your snake out. Remember your new python's life is in your hands. So please take care of it properly.