If you go down to the patch today …

… you’re in for a big surprise, because in amongst the corn and kale, there may be a precious python resting.

Get those rats, mate!

The carpet python (Morelia spilota) (or possibly diamond python mixture, as carpets and diamonds interbreed in our area)  is mostly harmless – unless you’re a rat, a frog, a possum or a bat. Carpets suffocate their prey and are usually nocturnal – I say ‘usually’ because I saw this one very much in daylight.

I was a bit concerned because it looked flat and unwell – usually they are sleek and shiny and fat – as round as my arm. We’ve had cane toads in this area for a couple of years, and it may have eaten one and be dying from the poison.

We had a large carpet python living in the roof for a while. I know this because of strange scraping sounds of a heavy body in the roof and the cessation of macadamia-nut rolling noises at 3 am (hooray!). We also saw one lowering itself from the roof cavity along the putside of the house, literally skinning itself. It had hooked its old skin to the top of the roof and was peeling it off. The new skin was soft and glistening and beautiful. We left it alone and it eventually crawled back up to the roof cavity. We then retrieved the old skin – it was flexible and I could put my hand and arm inside it, like the softest glove. I’ve kept that skin – it measures 2.47 metres (8.1 feet), though the snake was probably longer as the skin does not have the tail tip.

A couple of months ago we had a gas bottle delivered (for the oven) and, instead of being connected to its usual spot on the side of the house, it was left at the front. I rang the gas company and the receptionist said the area was too overgrown for the guy to risk it. I agreed to mow thegrass in that area, then discovered the real reason for his reluctance – another shed skin, this time 3.2 metres (10.5 feet) , with the tip this time. It seemed to be a female, as on males you can see the scales of the claspers and these were not present on this skin. I was so happy to think she’s in my roof! No doubt the microbats don’t share my opinion.

A couple of days after seeing the unhealthy python, I saw a very healthy one in the garage. So either the veggie patch python had perked up or this was a different one. Either way, I’m very happy to share my space with such wonderful animals.

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5 Responses to If you go down to the patch today …

  1. Rebecca says:

    I wish I lived in a part of the world that has pythons!

  2. Joy Window says:

    Rebecca, I’ll trade you some pythons for some horseshoe crabs (virtually only, of course!). I’m already trading some wallabies for some chameleons from my friend Jane’s Cape Town garden. 😉

  3. Rebecca says:

    Actually, believe it are not Burmese pythons are an established invasive species in south Florida – better not risk bringing in any more. 🙂

    • Joy Window says:

      Too right! Interesting … were they imported, like our cane toads, as biological controls, or are they escaped/released pets or former zoo residents?

  4. Cath Clark says:

    You win the biggest yard python contest so far for 2011.

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