The Australian Carpet Python or Diamond Python

Last Friday, in my post about the hot weather, I showed you a video of a carpet python in a swimming pool. I also mentioned a different python was found wrapped three times around a baby’s arm and the baby’s mother had to pull the snake off.

The poor baby got bitten a few times in the process, but no real harm was done. As I wrote that article, I felt I would need to come back to carpet pythons, because it’s important to know that snakes here in Australia are not all the same, and my guess would be that most people’s favourite snake is the carpet python.

The carpet python

I’ve seen a few carpet pythons, which are also sometimes called diamond pythons or carpet snakes. I saw two tiny ones over at the Botanical Gardens in Brisbane within about six months of arriving here. Then when I went camping in Mount Tambourine, they had a carpet snake in the roof of one of the outbuildings.

You might also remember that Ben had a carpet snake draped across his chair on the balcony outside his back door.

carpet snake

I’m pretty sure what I saw climbing up a tree on Moreton Island was a carpet python; check it out for yourself if you like by watching my video Moreton Island Wildlife.

So why would carpet pythons be the people’s favourite? Here are few reasons:

  • They are NOT venomous.
  • They are quite calm, relaxed and timid.
  • They are not aggressive.
  • They ARE beautiful.
  • They are more active at night time.
  • They love climbing trees and living in lofts.
  • They eat mice, rodents (a good thing), birds, possums and the occasional small dog or cat (a bad thing).

I found a great video of a carpet python posted on YouTube by Greg the gardener; he speaks very highly of carpet pythons. I kind of go along with what he says, with the exception of a couple of his quotes; “..very very rarely ever bite even if provoked…” and he describes them as “..completely harmless..”

Carpet python behaviour can be unpredictable. A carpet python will bite if it feels threatened, especially a female protecting her nest. And if you try to pick up a carpet python as that mother did when she found one on her baby, then there is a chance the snake will bite, as that one did.

But then you know that from last week’s quote by the snake catcher who said “When you grab a snake, a snake in its reptilian brain thinks, ‘anything that can grab me can also eat me’.”

If you do get bitten by one, it will hurt and will probably cause lacerations. If bitten, it would be advisable to get tetanus protection.

If snake’s scare you, please remember that I’ve been here over five years and my snake sightings are still in single figures. And I’m looking for them! Half of the snakes I have seen were pointed out to me because other people know I am looking for them.

Whatever your view about snakes, I think it’s important to know that we do have some that are simply more beautiful than they are dangerous. Here’s Greg the gardener…

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{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Kev Lemberg November 7, 2018, 7:27 am |

    6th Nov 2018, in current drought I have several plastic kids swimming pools around our property offering fresh water to all wildlife that requires it. About a week ago the bore pump died and the water all became filthy due to the number of ducks who used it. I went to feed the ducks and couldn’t understand why they didn’t go near one of the pools. I found in it a 3.1 meter carpet snake. My question is, ‘How long can they stay under water?’. Because I filmed it and from the time it went under the water until it came back up was 8 mins and 53 Seconds.

    • BobinOz November 7, 2018, 7:07 pm |

      Well, if I were a duck, I probably wouldn’t feel so thirsty under those circumstances either.

      According to a quick search, carpet pythons can stay underwater for between 20 and 30 minutes, so your one popped his head up way before he needed to. Looking for ducks probably 🙂

  • Michael pitt March 9, 2017, 9:17 am |

    I have got a four foot carpet snake no mites eats good temperature good when heat light is off at night for the past 3 weeks it half lies in her water dish all night can anyone help thanks

    • BobinOz March 9, 2017, 10:01 pm |

      Sounds like he needs a vet or a snake expert. Also sounds like you have him in a tank, maybe he’s just cheesed off with that? They are not supposed to be kept captive, I believe it is illegal to do so.

      • Michael pitt March 10, 2017, 8:07 am |

        Thanks for replying the carpet snake is in a 5foot vivaium it has a lot of space today it had a poo some hard some soft and it is back in her water dish stay ?there all night
        can you help any thoughts thanks micheal


        • BobinOz March 10, 2017, 8:56 pm |

          A 4 foot carpet python in a 5 foot tank doesn’t sound like a lot of space to me. Especially as it probably would like to grow to 6 foot. Whilst I am very pleased to hear your snake has had a poo, I don’t have any further thoughts.

          If you are worried about its welfare, then speak to a vet. If this snake was captured by you from the wild, then please release it back to where it belongs as you clearly do not know what you are doing.

  • justin October 21, 2016, 3:52 am |

    I keep snakes here in the states and carpets are hands down my favorites!

    • BobinOz October 21, 2016, 8:55 pm |

      Yes, they are beautiful snakes, aren’t they? Great temperament, very placid, unless you are a rodent 🙂

  • Scott December 2, 2014, 4:15 pm |

    i had one in my garage that freaked my wife out at 5am this morning. I wasnt game to touch it so called in my neighbour who was happy to pull it our from behind the hot water heater. 2 hours later i took the kids round and we all had a play with it – was a lovely calm juvenile about 5 feet long and happy to wrap around your arm. Got me in amazing grief with the Mrs though when she saw the photos on Facebook- and that why i am posting this comment. The snake is largely harmless doesnt mean others will see it that way…..

    • BobinOz December 2, 2014, 7:30 pm |

      Sounds like you and your kids have made a new friend. The trick is, of course, being sure you have correctly identified the snake but carpet pythons are quite easy to recognise and as you say, they can often be very calm and friendly.

      They can be slightly aggressive on occasions, but I’ve heard it’s only when they feel they need to protect their young. Don’t try the same trick with a brown though, will you?

      Cheers, Bob

      • Scott December 3, 2014, 9:15 am |

        thanks Bob- the Mrs was actually fine in the end so both I and the snake live to fight another day. We live at Currumbin on the Gold Coast so are blessed with an abundance of wildlife including koalas, possums and every bird you can imagine. We have seen browns at the spit and down at Brunswick heads so you do need to be careful on tracks down the the beach but fortunately none so far at home. having read more of your site yesterday I totally agree with your view that as long as you are careful and respect the wildlife here in oz its not as scary as the media make out (esp in the UK). cheers Scott

        • BobinOz December 4, 2014, 1:47 pm |

          Glad to hear it’s all sorted with the missus.

          Yes, the bird life around here is quite amazing isn’t it? And those brown snakes, they are around, but thankfully they seem to keep themselves to themselves. As you say, as long as we are careful and respectful it all seems to work out okay. Cheers, Bob

  • pravdaseeker February 7, 2013, 6:46 pm |

    Hello Bob and Bob in Oz Readers,

    Snakes! I don’t get along with snakes at all.. He He..

    During the recent cyclone Oswald big blow aftermath,
    up on Tamborine Mtn., my neighbour found a python in MY backyard..
    He called an animal control guy, and they took it away.

    Another neighbour had a SCRUB PYTHON wrapped around his hot water heater trying to keep warm. Scrub pythons aren’t as friendly as the carpet variety.
    The home owner got bitten twice by the scrubby, and animal control guy managed to get bit as well..

    My wife and I were off the mountain getting supplies and a bow saw, and big tree clippers to clean up our rented property.

    My wife and I have walked most all the shorter trails on the mountain, have yet to see a snake on the walks. (Would REALLY rather NOT see one

    What creeps us out the most are them dang leeches! If you don’t spray down really good with bushwalkers bug spray, they will mob you.

    The recent big blow was the worst storm in over 40 years for the mountain, we got upwards of 650mm of rain too! No wonder the python was wrapped around the water heater trying to keep warm..

    Regardless, we love this mountain and the region.

    I am SO GLAD we made it through the hurdles and are now living together here in OZ. It was worth every effort, and cost to get here.


    • BobinOz February 8, 2013, 8:32 pm |

      Good to hear from you Pravdaseeker, you have had an early introduction to the wild weather we sometimes get here. It’s part and parcel of life in Queensland, you had the extra bonus of the weather bringing out the snakes and the leeches 🙂

      Of course, you have to expect this, living close (or in) the rainforest over there, but as you’ve probably already realised, the benefits far outweigh these little inconveniences.

      650 mm of rain, I can assure you, is not normal, but it does happen from time to time.

      Welcome to Australia! I too, after five years, agree with you that yes, it is worth the effort and the cost to be here. I’m staying!



  • Kirri January 21, 2013, 6:38 pm |

    In the 23 years I’ve lived here I think I’ve seen 3 red bellies and one brown snake in the wild. I do know 2 people who have stepped on a red belly’s tail, as soon as they lifted their feet the snakes slid away. So snakes aren’t as bad as a lot of people think they are. Although I still wouldn’t recommend stepping on one if you can avoid it 🙂
    I think carpet pythons are amazing though. I was in a uni lecture one day learning about snakes and the lecturer says he wants to demonstrate something snakes can do so he reaches into the bag which has been sitting on the desk for the entire lesson and pulls out a carpet python. Very unexpected. I got to hold it later in the prac lesson and they’re just such amazing creatures. They have so much strength, it’s incredible.

    • BobinOz January 25, 2013, 2:34 pm |

      People who are scared of snakes believe we are stepping over them every day here in Australia, but it just isn’t the case. As you say, just four snake sightings in the wild in 23 years for you just shows that they really aren’t that bad a problem here.

      As you say though, don’t step on one if you can help it, and I’m pretty sure an eastern brown snake would try and give you a bite if trodden on, unlike the red bellied black.

  • Kaven January 19, 2013, 5:02 pm |

    In September 2006, My Father and I were on vacation in Noosa. We came across one of good size, lying across almost one entire lane of the road. We had no idea what kind it was or if it could be harmful to us. We put on the cars emergency lights and waved on some cars, as the snake would have most likely been hit. Then a bloke in a busted up ute stopped and taught us about the snake. He said it was harmless, and was warming up in the sun on the road. He thanked us for caring enough to stop, grabbed its tail and dragged the snake to a sunny patch off the road.

    • BobinOz January 19, 2013, 7:41 pm |

      Yes, I saw an old guy do that up the road from where I live, I stopped behind his car as he was guiding the snake, using a stick, off of the road back into the fields. I remember it because I feverishly grabbed my iPhone, which I’d only owned for a couple of days, to take a photograph. I took a photograph of my own head.

      I’ve since learned which way round to hold the iPhone when taken a photograph 🙂

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