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What is a Diamond Python?

By Jennifer Voight
Updated Mar 05, 2024
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The diamond python is a popular, non-venomous snake among collectors and is prized for its beautiful markings. Colors can vary from black and white to gold, olive, tan, or cream. Native to Australia, Indonesia, and New Guinea, the diamond python is a mostly nocturnal snake that lives in a variety of habitats, from forests to populated areas, preferring to spend its time in trees, on roofs, or in rafters. Its scientific name is Morelia spilota spilota, and it is related to carpet python.

The markings of the diamond python are highly variable. Collectors prefer the diamonds to be small, colorful, and not connected to other diamonds. The adult male diamond python reaches a length of 5.5 to 6 feet (1.7 to 1.8 meters) while the larger female can reach 6.5 to 7 feet (1.9 to 2.1 meters).

Like other pythons, the diamond python constricts and suffocates its prey, preferring small mammals, reptiles, and bats. Unlike other pythons, diamond pythons do not need to eat very often and should feed once every seven to 10 days. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and greatly shorten the lifespan.

Diamond pythons are very active animals that should be encouraged to exercise in captivity. Cages should be quite large, ideally 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters) long, with enough height to provide branches for climbing and exercise. They also require large hide boxes and an ultraviolet light to provide a source of vitamin D.

For three-quarters of the year, diamond pythons do well in temperatures ranging from 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (27 to 30 degrees Celsius) during the day. Night time temperatures should be around 75 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 26 degrees Celsius). Hibernation periods are crucial to the health of the diamond python and essential for breeding.

In the winter, diamond pythons in captivity should have the last feeding several weeks before hibernation begins to allow the digestive system to empty. Australian winter temperatures are about 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 16 degrees Celsius). In captivity, the diamond python habitat should be cooled to this temperature to allow it to enter hibernation for several months.

Female diamond pythons breed once every three years. Multiple males will follow females during breeding season. Rather than fighting other males, they wait patiently for the chance to mate with her. Female diamond pythons lay 10 to 20 or more eggs and will coil around the clutch during the incubation period.

Capturing wild diamond pythons for captivity is illegal. Breeding has ensured a sufficient population of captive diamond pythons. Although diamond pythons are not considered endangered, some habitats are shrinking yearly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Diamond Python?

A Diamond Python is a non-venomous snake species, Morelia spilota spilota, native to southeastern Australia. It's known for its distinctive pattern of cream or yellow spots and diamond-shaped markings on a black or dark green background. This medium-sized python can grow up to 2.5 meters and is a subspecies of the carpet python.

Where can Diamond Pythons be found in the wild?

Diamond Pythons are found in the wild in coastal areas of New South Wales and the extreme east of Victoria in Australia. They inhabit a variety of environments, including forests, shrublands, and heath, often residing in tree branches or utilizing rock crevices and hollows as shelter.

What do Diamond Pythons eat?

Diamond Pythons are carnivorous and primarily feed on small mammals, such as rodents, and occasionally birds. They are ambush predators, using their camouflage to surprise prey, which they then constrict and swallow whole. Their diet can vary based on their size and the availability of prey in their habitat.

How do Diamond Pythons reproduce?

Diamond Pythons are oviparous, meaning they lay eggs. Females typically lay between 10 and 50 eggs per clutch, which they incubate by coiling around them and generating heat through muscle contractions. After about 50-60 days, the eggs hatch, and the young snakes are independent from birth, fending for themselves.

Are Diamond Pythons endangered?

As of my knowledge cutoff in 2023, Diamond Pythons are not considered endangered. They are listed as "Least Concern" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, indicating that they are currently at a low risk of extinction in the wild. However, habitat loss and fragmentation continue to be threats to their populations.

Can Diamond Pythons be kept as pets?

Yes, Diamond Pythons can be kept as pets, especially in their native Australia, where they are popular due to their docile nature and striking appearance. Prospective owners should ensure they are prepared for the commitment, as these pythons can live for over 20 years in captivity and require specific care, including regulated temperatures and appropriate enclosure sizes.

AllThingsNature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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