& GOLD JUNGLES
(Morelia spilota cheynei)
The jungle carpet pythons were classified as a seperate taxon by Wells and Wellington in the mid-1980's and then as a distinct subspecies by the Barkers in their "Pythons of the World: Australia" in 1994. Barker describes them as occuring "along the rivers and watercourses" in northern Queensland. The photos in Barker's book show jungle carpets with a wide variety of colour and pattern. Today, Australian herps tend to call nearly everything that comes from Queensland, and does not look like a coastal carpet (M. spilota mcdowelli), a "jungle".
We have had the good fortune of seeing a number of "jungle carpets" from the area on and around the Atherton Tablelands and have been amazed at the enormous variation that can occur over remarkably short distances. We have noticed that the jungle carpets from rainforest in the deepest ravines and sides of the Tableland are generally smaller, stouter and more irritable. Carpets that originate from less dense forest and woodlands on the top of the tablelands tend to be longer, slimmer and a little less aggressive. The strain we are breeding originates from this latter type.
A beautiful jungle carpet is certainly a snake to be admired. One of the great frustrations, however, is that no matter how perfect the adults, the offspring show a lot of variation. We are producing 3rd and 4th generation captive progeny now, and although the overall quality and consistency is improving, this variation still persists. In addition, it is very difficult to predict how a young jungle will look as an adult. We have kept back offspring that have turned out average and discarded animals that are "to die for".... but that is part of the charm and challenge of breeding jungles.
Above, we have included photographs of jungles from our blood lines sent to us by some of our customers. While it is difficult to predict the final quality of each individual hatchling, the result of our selective breeding program is apparent when these are bred and their offspring are raised subsequently.
The particular strain of jungle we breed has the disadvantage of being late to show its full colour and pattern potential (up to 18 months or more) , but has the advantage that attractive animals hold their colour well into adulthood. The adult male and female shown above are over five years old.
Each year to reduce uncertainty, we hold onto all our hatchlings until they have had their 4th shed, which is usually around mid-winter.
© Copyright 2004. All photos, unless otherwise noted, are the property of Southern Cross Reptiles. Please do not use without express permission. Thank you.