The Carpet python is a large snake named for beautiful markings on its skin, which resemble an oriental carpet pattern. Their coloring is highly variable, ranging from olive to black with white or cream and gold markings. The patterning may be roughly diamond-shaped or have intricate markings made up of light and dark bands on a background of gray or a version of brown. Males in this species are typically smaller than females and in some regions, females can even be up to four times heavier.
Carpet pythons are found throughout mainland Australia, with the exception of the arid center and the western regions. They are also found in Indonesia (southern Western New Guinea in Merauke Regency), Papua New Guinea (southern Western Province, the Port Moresby area of Central Province), and on Yule Island. Carpet pythons occur in a wide variety of habitats, from the rainforests of northeastern Queensland through the River Red Gum/Riverbox woodlands of the Murray and Darling Rivers, to the arid, treeless islands of the Nuyts Archipelago off the South Australian west coast. They also occur in temperate grasslands with hot and dry weather and are often found near human habitation.
Carpet pythons are semiarboreal tree snakes; they do not completely rely on trees and are capable of moving around elsewhere. They are largely nocturnal, climbing trees and shrubs, and crossing open areas such as rock faces, forest floors, and even roads. However, during the day they may be seen basking in the sun. They usually shelter in hollow tree limbs, rock crevices and evenin abandoned burrows of other animals. Carpet pythons are solitary creatures and only come together to breed.
Little is known about the mating system in Carpet pythons. They breed from October to mid-December. These snakes are oviparous (egg-laying). Females lay 10-50 eggs at a time and incubate them around 40 days. Females coil around the eggs to protect them and keep them warm through using muscular contractions to generate heat. This type of maternal care, which is typical for pythons, ceases once the hatchlings have emerged. Hatchlings measure around 39 cm and become reproductively mature when they are around 3 years old.
The biggest threat to Carpet pythons is habitat destruction. Because of this snakes loose suitable hiding places to hunt their prey and suitable shelter to lay and incubate their eggs. Carpet pythons also suffer from road kill, the pet trade and from predation from feral cats and foxes.
According to IUCN, the Carpet python is locally common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are decreasing.
Carpet pythons are often found near human habitation, where they perform a useful service by eating rats and other vermin.