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Irian Jaya Carpet Python Care Sheets
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Average Rating Given To This Care Sheet Is 4.58    (1=lowest, 5=highest)    Last Updated: 03/12/2003

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Years Experience:

3 to 5 Years


Irian Jaya Carpet Python

Other Species or Phases this Care Sheet May Cover:

Jungle Carpet Python

Sexing and Characteristics:

Scientific Name:
The scientific name of the Irian Jaya is Morelia Spilota Variegata. However, some believe that New Guineau Carpet Pythons (Morelia Spilota Harissoni) are, in fact, Irian Jayas.

Irian Jayas are found in Merauke, located on the island Irian Jaya, near Australia. They are also found along the northern coast of Australia, but as Irian Jays are new to the pet trade, and it is illegal to import any reptiles from Australia, all Irian Jayas in american captivity are from the island.

Hatchlings are usually nippy, but their bites are tiny and they can be quickly tamed down with frequent, gentle handling. Most of the snakes are very tame and easy to handle as juvenile and older animals. However, some may act aggressive when you pick them up, or if they have been held for too long, but will rarely hiss or bite. Never try to restrain the snake, or it may feel threatened.

These pythons are slender, with large, arrow-shaped heads that are distinct from their bodies. Most Irian Jayas found in captivity are 4-5 feet (males) to 5-6 feet (females). However, some 6-7 foot Irian Jayas do exist. They are semi to mostly arboreal.

As Irian Jayas haven’t been kept in captivity very long, it is hard to estimate an accurate life span. However, a healthy captive carpet python can exceed 15 years of age.

Mostly Active During:


Substrate and Water Needs:

Irian Jayas can be kept on a variety substratre, such as newspaper, papertowel, aspen bedding, potting soil mixed with sphagnum moss or cypress mulch. If using newspaper or papertowel, it should be replaced about weekly. Aspen bedding, potting soil or cypress mulch can be spot-cleaned when soiled, but should be completely replaced every few months.

Clean water should be available at all times. Distilled water is best, as it doesn’t have chlorine and other chemicals like tap water does. If distilled water is unavailable, then filtered water will do.

Lighting and UVB:

Day-time light can be created by using an incandescent 40W bulb or even a fluorescent bulb. If using an incandescent, it must be caged off so the snake doesn’t burn itself.

Temperatures and Humidity:

Irian Jayas require moderate humidity. Spray the tank every other day, or two or three times a week to ensure a healthy snake and complete sheds.

Irian Jayas should be provided with a temperature range of 80F to 88F, so the snake can choose the temperature it wants. This hot spot can be created by using a heating pad. Heating bulbs can be used, but are not recommended. Night time temperatures should drop to 75F to 81F. Winter temperatures can drop by a few degrees but it is not necessary.

Heating and Equipment:


Caging Provided:

Hatchling Irian Jayas should be kept in an enclosure with 35 to 45 square inches of floor space. If babies are placed in enclosures that are too big, they may feel stressed and insecure, and stop feeding. At a year or so of age, they can be moved into their permament enclosures, which should give the snake a minimum of 5 square feet of floor space, and 3 feet high of climbing space.
The enclosure should have a secure lid, and good ventilation, such as glass tank with a screen mesh lid, or a wood and plexi-glass / glass custom build enclosure with vents.

Irian Jayas do spend a lot of time on the ground, but they should definitely have a few strong branches to climb on. They should also be provided with at least one hide box. Upside-down plant pots with holes in the sides are cheap and easy. A rock or two looks nice, and can help the snake with shedding. Plastic or live plants also look good, and provide the snake with stuff to explore.



Description of Diet:

Irian Jayas feed best in early evening, and usually readily accept pre-killed or thawed mice. Babies should be given large fuzzy mice after their first shed. Some will need to be started with live mice and most will easily switch to pre-killed or thawed. As they increase in size, the food items must be as well. One meal of appropriate size every week is enough. Larger animals will usually accept rats (some need their first rats to be mouse scented).
However, some snakes just refuse to take mice, this can be prevented by offering rat pinkies to neonates.
If feeding live, be sure to supervise at all times. A hungry or scared mouse or rat can attack and injur or kill the snake.

Supplements, Nutrition and Usage:


Healthy Irian Jayas should shed in one piece, but a piece of shed doesn’t come off with the rest of the shed, the snake should be soaked in shallow room temperature water for an hour or so. The skin should then come off easily.

Some Words on this Species:

Irian Jayas are GREAT snakes to keep! They are beautiful, stay relatively small and are easy to tame and keep healthy. I would recommend Irian Jayas to the novice keeper, as well as the experienced.
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The information contain in these care sheets represents only the opinions and husbandry care of members and therefore is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate or reflects the advice or opinions of It is always advised to seek additional information or the advice of a qualified veterinarian or qualified reptile dealer. It is also advisable for you to a good amount of research before implementing any of the ideas and care described in these care sheets. We also recommend you ask many questions in their related forums before acting on any information.

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