Common Name: Diamond Python
Scientific Name: Morelia spilota spilota
Information Sheet - Diamond Python
The Diamond Python also known also known as the Diamond Snake and is a non-venomous snake of the python species. It is a member of the carpet pythons and is found in New Guinea, Indonesia and Australia. Its common name is Diamond Python but the scientific name is Morelia spilota. Spilota and has six sub species.
The adults vary in their lengths, which mostly range from 2.7 to almost 4m. They weigh between 4 and 10kg though females are typically larger than males. Their heads are triangular in shape and their thermo-receptive labial pits are quite conspicuous. These snakes are considered to be beautiful with white spots and diamond patterns on their scales. In general their color is typically black with gold, cream or white markings. Others have dark and light intricate markings on brown or gray backgrounds. The Diamond Pythonâ€™s diet while in the wild is comprised of small mammals, birds, bats and lizards but in zoos its main diet is small rodents such as mice and rats.
Diamond Pythons are found in Papua New Guinea in several areas such as Yule Island, Port Moresby in Central Province, and Merauke Regency in SW New Guinea southern Victoria, central and western parts of the country. Their type locality is given as Nouvelle-Holland.
They flourish in temperate forests, rain forests, grasslands, hollow trees and in caves. Diamond Pythons are also commonly referred to as tree snakes, but do not rely wholly on trees. These pythons are often found close to peopleâ€™s homes and are known to take residence on top of roofs especially in private houses in pursuit of rodents such as rats but once the food supply is over the snakes move to a new location.
These pythons are semi-arboreal and mostly nocturnal. They climb trees, shrubs and cross forest floors, rock faces and roads. They are commonly observed basking and spend most of their evenings searching for prey. They are constrictors known to coil around their prey and squeeze it to suffocation. They are able to swallow larger animals than their own head diameter. They are able to do this since their skulls and lower jaws have loosely attached bones. These bones are joined by ligaments that enable the bones to separate when the python is swallowing a prey. The python is able to accommodate large prey since its skin expands causing the snake to have a lump until the prey is digested.
Diamond Pythons are oviparous and reproduce by laying eggs. The average number of eggs laid in one clutch is 10 to 20 eggs. Female pythons incubate and protect the eggs by coiling around all the eggs in one clutch. When young Diamond Pythons are hatched, they measure between twenty five to forty centimeters.
Diamond Pythons have a lifespan of between 15 to 20 years and are popular pets since they are quiet docile. Their feeding response is strong and can easily mislead people into thinking they are aggressive.Â Care should therefore be taken especially during their feeding time.