Breeding Carpet Pythons

This is what I have found to work for me when breeding Carpet Pythons but it is by no means the only way of doing things.

Cooling Process

One of the most important aspects of breeding Carpet Pythons is cooling; they need very cold nights for about 6 weeks during winter time. Also, you have to make sure the females are in perfect condition, not overweight and not too skinny.

I start the cooling process on about the 1st of June and it continues until about the 15th of July. This means that on the 1st of June I switch the heat in both the male and females cages off completely at night, I do not drop the temperature slowly for a while. During this process, the temperature sometimes drops to about 10 degrees during the night. Don't worry about the snake getting sick if it is too cold, as long as it has heat during the day it will be fine, so don't forget to turn the heaters back on each morning so that the cage reaches about 32 degrees on the hot spot. As with breeding all pythons, a good thermal gradient is very important.

On the 15th of July, I stop the cooling process and allow the heating to remain on through the night, again, as with cooling, I don't start the warming process up gradually, I just switch over.

During the cooling process I do not feed the snakes but a few days after I turn the heaters on again throughout the night, I start to offer food once again. Initially I offer small food items and then go bigger from there at subsequent feedings.

Mating

Jungle Carpet Pythons mating
Jungle Carpet Pythons Mating

Jungle Carpet Pythons usually mate a bit later than Irian Jayas Carpet Pythons but I start to introduce all species of Carpet Pythons at the same time. I am not too concerned about whether to introduce the male to the female's cage or the female to the male's cage as I have found that they will mate no matter where they are.

The male can be placed with more than one female and he is introduced on a one night on, one night off schedule, alternating between the different females. I usually put them together at night and separate again the next night unless they are mating again.

I will continue to introduce them over the next 6 or 7 weeks until I see that there is no more interest. The females will ovulate during this time and you can usually easily see this.

Ovulation and Egg Laying

Female Carpet Python ovulation
Female Ovulation

The female will start to go stiff in the lower part of her body and will then have her pre-lay shed. You can expect eggs about 20 to 30 days after the pre-lay shed.

Usually during this time I get the incubator ready and make sure the temperature is perfect, at about 31 to 32 degrees. Any type of incubator will work adequately; the most important thing here is to keep the humidity high and the temperature right.

Female Carpet Python incubating eggs
Female incubating eggs

You don't have to worry about removing the water or supplying a nest box in the female carpet python's cage, although a nest box may make her feel more secure.

When the eggs are dropped, the female will curl around the eggs and try and incubate them herself. I wait for her to finish laying completely and then remove the eggs. Be careful when removing the eggs because even a docile snake will bite at this time!

Incubation

Carpet Python Eggs
Eggs in incubator

If the eggs are stuck together I usually separate them and place them in the incubation tubs and place the tubs in the incubator. You can also leave the eggs stuck together, I just prefer to have them separated.

IMPORTANT: Make sure that when you remove the eggs and place them in the vermiculite that they remain in the same position as they were laid (do not tilt them or turn them over). Any changes in position can be detrimental to the baby's development.

Once the eggs have been removed, ensure that you clean the female's cage very well, try to remove the smell of the eggs or else the female will lie and twitch, thinking there are still eggs to incubate and during this time she will not eat. You may offer her a small meal during this time.

The eggs will incubate for about 55 to 60 days.

Hatching

Cutting Eggs
Cutting Eggs

Once the first eggs start to hatch, I carefully cut the rest of the eggs with a sharp scalpel or pair of scissors – just a small flap will be fine and make sure you don't cut too deep when doing this. I do this to ensure that all hatchlings have the opportunity to leave the eggs without problems as some babies may be lost if they cannot cut themselves out from the egg.

It is best to leave the babies alone and wait for them to come out of the eggs in their own time. While they wait to come out of the egg, they absorb the last of the yolk and if they are bothered or rushed out of the egg, they will leave the yolk and try to escape. This last bit of yolk is very important for the hatchlings and they will do much better and shed and eat much faster if they are left to absorb all of the yolk within the egg.

Carpet Python Hatchlings
Hatchlings

Once the hatchlings have exited the egg, I usually rinse them with water, sex them by popping and then place them in male/female containers. It is easiest to sex baby Carpets just after hatching as they pop very easily.

I will then leave them in the rack system for about 10 days, usually if they absorbed all of the yolk they will shed at this time and I then try feed them a day or 2 after shedding.

This is what has worked for me and some of the bigger breeders in Australia. It is not difficult to breed Carpet Pythons, you just need to make sure you keep to the basics and if you follow these steps, you should have some bitey babies.