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Rough Scaled Pythons

Updated on November 20, 2016
Snakesmum profile image

Snakesmum, as the name implies, has had pet snakes for a number of years now, and has always been attracted to these beautiful creatures.

Rough Scaled Python at Melbourne Zoo

Rough Scaled Python at Melbourne Zoo Photo by Snakesmum
Rough Scaled Python at Melbourne Zoo Photo by Snakesmum

Discovery & Description

In 1976, the rough-scaled python, Morelia carinata, was discovered in the remote North West of Western Australia. It was years before a second specimen was found, near the lower sections of the Hunter and Mitchell rivers. Only a few have been taken from the wild to date.

The snake is distinct from other pythons because the each scale has a ridge on it, giving a rough feel to the skin.

The head is quite large, compared to the neck, which is very narrow, and this snake is reputed to have the largest teeth, for its size, of any known snake. The body is slim and muscular, and the tail is prehensile. An adult is thought to grow to about 2 metres (6.5 feet) in length.

In colouration, the python is dark brown and has paler blotches, although towards the tail this colouring may appear to be reversed. The eyes are bluish.

Distribution Map

Distribution map by Snakesmum
Distribution map by Snakesmum

Habitat

Morelia carinata has a very restricted area of distribution, as can be seen from the map above. It is only found in tiny areas of rainforest in the tropics of Kimberley, Western Australia. It may also be found on Bigge Island, W.A.

They seem to prefer rocky valleys, where there are trees and shrubs. These pythons also like sandstone crevices, where they can hide, and also search for prey.

Head of Morelia carinata

Rough-scaled python, Morelia carinata
Rough-scaled python, Morelia carinata | Source

What Rough Scaled Pythons Eat

Food in the Wild
Food in Captivity
Not known but thought to be small mammals
Rats and Mice
Possibly roosting birds
 
Little is known about the diet of these snakes in the wild.

Rough Scaled Pythons in Captivity

Shortly after they were discovered, permits were issued to John Weigel of the Australian Reptile Park, to capture a pair of these pythons. Although they are quite difficult to find, a pair was taken, and they were discovered to breed quite well in captivity.

These reptiles are now available to private keepers in Australia and overseas, because of the dedication of John Weigel, and the Australian Reptile Park. Several pairs have been exported, and the snakes are able to be kept in a few other countries.

Melbourne Zoo has these snakes in its collection, as do other zoos in Australia and around the world. Recently Los Angeles Zoo exchanged Komodo dragons for some Australian animals, including these pythons.


Python Poll

Have you ever seen a python in the wild?

See results

Pythons of Australia

Snake On A Rock

Python on a rock
Python on a rock | Source

Los Angeles Zoo's Pythons

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Coiled on a branch.   Photo courtesy of Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily NewsA young python, Morelia carinata. Photo courtesy of Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News
Coiled on a branch.   Photo courtesy of Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News
Coiled on a branch. Photo courtesy of Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News | Source
A young python, Morelia carinata. Photo courtesy of Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News
A young python, Morelia carinata. Photo courtesy of Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News | Source

Reproduction

Although not a lot is known about the biology of these animals in the wild, they usually breed in the months of July and August, in the dry season.

The female python will lay approximately ten eggs, and like other pythons, she will coil around them to protect them and keep them at a constant temperature. When the eggs hatch, the female will leave, and will take no further care of them.

The hatchlings are prey to other animals, and probably not many survive to adulthood. They will not eat until they have shed their skins for the first time, at about a week old.

A Beautiful Reptile

Photo courtesy of Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News.
Photo courtesy of Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News. | Source

Threat and Strike

Comments Please

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    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Nothing for a year? That's a bit long - hopefully she drinks water still. I'm worried about my Centralian, who hasn't eaten for 2 months, and used to be a healthy eater too. Thanks for visiting, and hope the python eats soon.

    • profile image

      Fiona 2 years ago

      Hi, My son owns a rough scaled Python, it is approximately 4years old. She was a healthy eater but for the past year has not eaten anything at all, she does still sheds Her skin.

    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Thanks for visiting and commenting, Titia. Where I live, I've never seen a wild snake, although I have seen some venomous ones out in the bush. Mostly they just want to stay away from people. They are beautiful animals.

    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 3 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      I think snakes are beautiful to look at, but still I'm glad we don't have those big ones roaming our nature in my country. Just watched the 44 min. video, was very interesting.

    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Yes, snakes can be very beautiful. My pythons have irridescent skin when they have just shed.

    • ubrish profile image

      ubrish ali 3 years ago from Pakistan(Asia)

      I love shiny skins of all the snakes.They look very attractive.

    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Pawpawwrites, yes it is a shame, but at least they aren't endangered at the moment, due to captive breeding. Saw one at the Melbourne Zoo on Saturday.

    • Pawpawwrites profile image

      Jim 3 years ago from Kansas

      Fascinating snakes. Too bad their range is so limited.

    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Yvette, you're certainly not alone with fear of snakes. One of my neighbours was terrified of them, and now is willing to hold my small pythons. They are pretty friendly little creatures though, and we wouldn't try holding a wild snake for sure! :-) Thanks for visiting.

    • Yvette Munro profile image

      Yvette Munro 3 years ago

      Always had a fear of snakes, but they still fascinate me. Great Hub.

    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @FlourishAnyway We have copperheads in Australia also, probably not the same snakes though. Ours are extremely venomous, so good to stay away from them. Pythons aren't venomous, so if they bite, it just hurts a lot. :-(

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Australia does have such different creatures and it's neat to learn about what we don't have here in the States. Snakes scare the bejezzies out of me but I respect them as fellow living things -- just don't wanna touch or look too closely. (I had a close call with a large copperhead as a child.)

    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Aviannovice, you'd have a ball here in the Australian bush, lots of both birds and snakes, although many of our snakes are venomous.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      These are gorgeous animals. Looks like someone needs to study them more in the wild. Gosh, I could have a ball…snakes AND birds!

    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Snakes are beautiful animals, and since this one is now bred in captivity, it is in no danger of becoming extinct, except possibly in the wild. That would be a shame. It isn't known how rare it really is, since it isn't seen very often.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      It is a beautiful snake, but I am glad it is rare.