Morelia spilota spilota
Least Concern (NSW), Endangered (Vic)
The Diamond python is a subspecies of Carpet python (Morelia spilota). They are a medium to large snake with an average adult size of 2m, although they can get up to nearly 3m (and in some rare cases, even longer!). Like other Carpet pythons, they are very variable in colour. They tend to me mostly dark olive to black, with most of the dorsal scales having a spot in the middle (the species name spilota means ‘spotted’). Along the body and tail are many clusters of scales that form diamond-shaped ‘rosettes’, giving the species their common name. These spots and rosettes can be cream, yellow and even have a distinctly green tinge in some specimens. The degree of patterning and colouration can be dependent on individuals and localities, with southern specimens typically being larger and darker to help with the cooler climates.
Being a python, the species is not venomous, killing it’s food via constriction. They have rows of very sharp teeth though, and a bite from a medium to large individual is still a painful experience one would prefer to avoid.
Lizards, birds and mammals up to the size of flying-foxes and possums.
Coastal heaths, woodlands, forests, rocky areas, river habitats and even urban environments, occurring regularly in backyards and roofs hunting rodents attracted by human activity.
From the far eastern tip of Victoria around Mallacoota, north up the coast past Sydney. Around the mid-north coast of NSW, their range overlaps with the Coastal carpet python subspecies (Morelia spilota mcdowelli) and the subspecies will breed with each other, creating and ‘intergrade zone’ where individuals can show characteristics of both Coastal and Diamond pythons.
Diamond pythons are generally regarded as placid by nature and reluctant to bite, although juveniles may be snappier as they are smaller and have more predators than a large adult. They have large territories, with females occupying ranges up to 120 acres and males having a territory twice that size. Often active during the day, and in certain areas they are known for basking in the sun on branches overhanging water.
Diamond pythons are ambush predators, staying in one position for up to two weeks waiting for prey before moving around 100m away to a new location. Food is caught by a rapid strike, and then the python will coil around its prey and squeeze to constrict and suffocate. Food is then swallowed whole and can take over a week to fully digest depending on temperature.