Diamond Python

Morelia spilota spilota is a subspecies of carpet python (Morelia spilota), popularly known as the diamond python. It is a medium to large snake, found in coastal areas and adjacent ranges of south-eastern Australia. They are the most southerly occurring python in the world and are also found at higher altitudes than any other species of Australian python.

They are quite variable in colour and pattern, typically being predominantly dark olive to black in colour with most dorsal scales having a yellow (or cream) spot in the centre (hence 'spilota' meaning spotted). Along the body and tail are numerous clusters of yellow/cream scales that form 'rosettes' that look a bit like diamonds (hence their common name). The underside is white, cream or even yellowish in colour, although it is often spotted with black.

The average adult size of this subspecies is usually about 2 m (6.6 ft) in total length, although they are known to reach maximum total lengths of about 3 m (9.8 ft), with very rare specimens recorded at up to 4 m (13 ft).

They are oviparous snakes, averaging 25 eggs in a clutch and laying up to 54 eggs. The female will defend her eggs by coiling around them and 'shivering' to regulate their temperature. She will not leave the eggs to eat during the incubation period, apart from briefly basking in the sun to raise her body temperature and then returning. Maternal care does not continue once the young have emerged. Juveniles resemble other Morelia spilota, although they become more distinct in their appearance as they mature.

These pythons are ambush predators with large territories that often overlap. They move around these seasonally to occupy well camouflaged positions in the warmer months and brumate in the winter months. The females have a range of up to 50 ha (120 acres), whilst males may occupy an area almost twice as large. They are often active during the day and on warm nights, although most of their time is spent waiting in ambush for passing prey. They typically remain in one position for up to 2 weeks, before moving to another around 100 m (330 ft) away. They kill their food by constricting and suffocating it, and will prey on lizards, birds, and mammals as large as possums.

They are not a danger to humans, but are capable of biting and leaving teeth in the wound if severely harassed.