Showing my Morelia Carinata, aka "rough scaled python"

Here is a picture of mine : female, still young (3 years old).

My young Morelia Carinata. Very proud of her :-)

A very rare python

First things first : this is yet another kind of python : a constrictor non-venomous snake. Pretty cute snake, I love it.

This python is especially rare in captivity, and that means it costs a lot. It is rare because it lives only in some very small areas on Earth : in a tiny area in north of Australia, that's all. Australia is a country known to be the habitat of many different snake species, many different kind of beautiful pythons, but it is also a country known to have very hard laws about animal exportation : in a word : they don't allow any exportation of any wildlife animal anymore (since many years now).

So this pretty cute and beautiful animal cannot be imported from its original living area anymore, and thus needs to be reproduced in captivity from the specimen that were imported before. What people started to do some years ago. But still, that python is among the rarest pythons you may find. The animal shop I got mine from, which is specialized in reptiles since 30 years, only has some few Morelia Carinata once per year, and even sometimes not.

An arboreal rough scaled python

His common name being "rough scaled", because it is the only python specimen on Earth with a rough scaled skin : it has a unique skin, it is a unique feeling when you touch/stroke it.

This hard scaled skin is used to dig holes/caverns to live into. This python may dig when in captivity. It is the only python known to do that.

Also, it has a lot of arboreal habits, while still being able to dig in the ground. One should prepare an enclosure with branches, he likes to perche on those, like Morelia Viridis does.

This python climbs a lot : provide it with branches

You can see on the above picture that the snake's got many places to climb and wind around. It also has a thin layer of ground substrate so that it doesn't try to dig too much into ;-)

This snake has unique eyes, this is what made me acquire a specimen. I've just been blown away the first time I looked at this snake and its eyes.

My individual doesn't have both eyes looking same. The other eye shows a unique blot in the blue color :

It shares many parameters/specifications/genetics with its cousin Morelia Viridis. I would say that M.Carinata is a little bit more calm (on an average) and sometimes evolves on the ground whereas Viridis never stays on the ground. But similar to M.Viridis, M.Carinata shows a thin, agile, nervous and muscled body (including its very interesting tail).

Like every python, it is equipped thermal sensors around its mouth (the strange little holes you see around the mouth, and at the back of the mouth also). It can feel very tiny changes in temperature around its head, and makes use of such a sense to hunt and go after some prey (it classically feeds mice or rats).

What does it need to live ?

Well as usual, the setup is not many complex to accommodate its needs.

An enclosure of the right size, with some fresh water and some perches/branches as it likes climbing a lot.

About temperatures : I got a heater on the top, and one on the ground as this species mixes activities both on the ground and in the air. Hot spot is at 27°C by day, and 23°C by night. Like Morelia Viridis, Morelias Carinata shouldn't be overheated. 30°C and above are too much for this snake.

Morelia Carinata is a rare snake species allowing temperatures fall under 20°C. In its natural habitat, temperatures may fall at something like 15°C or even 13°C by night, which is pretty cold for a snake. It will most likely try to hide and keep heat around in such a scenario though, I myself fix a low limit of 20°C.

Ambiant humidity should be around 50%, not very important parameter though (as soon as it doesn't reach extreme values).

This snake needs some spots to hide. It doesn't really hide at any time, it often goes into its branches, but it still needs some dark and calm hiding spots on the ground to feel safe if needed : provide some.

12h light and 12h dark, easy. The Morelia Carinata is a nocturnal species that actively lives and hunts at night, while resting during daylight.

You feed it mice or rats, of the appropriate size, every week for youngs, twice a month for young adults and once a month for full adults.


This snake species can be a challenge and thus is not really recommended for beginners. Mine is pretty calm but may show some defensive behaviors, Morelia Carinata share some genes with Morelia Viridis : Those kind of snakes have pretty big teeth, very long, that can hurt a lot if they catch you. This kind of snake is very agile and fast : you are warned. It's also a hunter at night : you are warned once again that you'll probably need tools to keep safe if you want to approach it in such conditions (I always use snake hooks when I approach my snakes by night).

Morelia Carinata is known to be the python species with the biggest teeth on Earth relative to its own body size. In a word, big teeth in a small body. Look at that :

Morelia Carinata jaws and teeth
But still, know the snake, know how to read its mood, adapt to it, and everything is all right ! Like always : it will clearly show you when it's about to strike you, you will need to read its mood before approaching, especially by night when it is active and looking for food.

Having arboreal habits and an agile body : it is a challenge to take it out of its cage as it rolls around branches when you approach, and you have to be very careful not to pull it like a monster and snatch it from its branch. Be cool with it, take your time, eventually minutes.

Once in your hands, it calms down very quickly and becomes a pretty cute thin-but-long snake. It tightens a lot : it rolls around your hand/fingers or your arm and uses that latter as a support to explore its surroundings : the snake pretty much always hardly wraps somethings with its body : this is the arboreal style speaking ;-) Its tail is so damn tiny, very fragile and still very agile. Impressive.

Once again : it is a cool snake in hands, if you keep calm and confident, it shows no aggressivity at all, and just flicks its tongue to explore its environment using your body parts as a support to climb and move. Really pleasant snake species.

Go for it ?

If you are a snake keeper with some experience, if you enjoy pythons and can afford the cost, yes : go and get one. At least, go and look for one, as said : it is a very rare species, you may have to wait for about one full year until seeing one available in your country.

That snake is robust but will grow long : reaching a little bit under 3 meters long while adult, it will then need an enclosure of a certain size both on the ground and in height. An adult specimen however is not a big/fat/heavy body, but a long one.

If like me you enjoy the contrast between the color of its skin compared to the color of its eyes ; you may acquire one. I was really impressed the first time I noticed that fact. Eyes color may be blue or green, or a mix in between (depends on the one specimen), its skin is however always the same color : dark brown with some beige alternatives. The skin is unique as it's rough (not a smooth feeling but bumped).


Morelia Carinata lives around 20 to 30 years, costs around $1500 per specimen, measures nearly 3 meters long while adult and weights around 4Kg adult. It shares its genome with Morelia Viridis.