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Carpet pythons & relatives
Morelia - Gray, 1842

Pronunciation: more-AY-lee-ah
Etymology: unknown, but possibly after the town in Mexico.

Taxonomic notes:

Previously, most Australian pythons were placed in this genus.

Notes: This genus features Australia's best-known python species, the carpet python (Morelia spilota), as well as two of Australia's most arcane and enigmatic snake species: the rough-scaled python (Morelia carinata) and the Morelia oenpelliensis. It also features one of the pythons most desired in the pet trade, the green python (Morelia viridis), as well as Australia's longest snake, the Morelia kinghorni.
Statistics: Reproductive modes:
Oviparous - 4 out of 4 Australian species

Size range:
Smallest Australian species: green python (Morelia viridis) at 120 cm
 Longest Australian species: carpet python (Morelia spilota) at up to 240 cm
Number of Australian species: 4

centralian carpet python (Morelia bredli)
MacDonnell Ranges, Northern Territory
Photo © Stewart Macdonald
centralian carpet python (Morelia bredli) distribution range map Morelia bredli
Centralian carpet python
Year described
(Gow 1981)
Species status uncertain (see Taxonomic notes below). A large snake with a distinct head that is obviously wider than the neck. Colouration varies from dark orange-red to rusty brown with a pattern of irregular cream bands and blotches bordered a margin of black scales.

rough-scaled python (Morelia carinata)
Prince Regent region, Western Australia
Photo © Ruchira Somaweera
rough-scaled python (Morelia carinata) distribution range map Morelia carinata
Rough-scaled python
Year described
(Smith 1981)
Keeled dorsal scales. Brown with a paler mesh-like pattern above.

carpet python (Morelia spilota)
Mount Glorious, Queensland
Photo © Stewart Macdonald
carpet python (Morelia spilota) distribution range map Morelia spilota
Carpet python
Year described
(Lacépède 1804)
The subspecies all have distinct patterns.

green python (Morelia viridis)
Iron range National Park, Queensland
Photo © Nick Stock
green python (Morelia viridis) distribution range map Morelia viridis
Green python
Year described
(Schlegel 1872)
Brilliant green as adults, but hatchlings are yellow until they reach about 55cm in length at about 1 year of age.1

  1. Wilson, D.; Heinsohn, R.; & Wood, J. (2006). Life-history traits and ontogenetic colour change in an arboreal tropical python, Morelia viridis. Journal of Zoology, 270(3):399-407.
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