Zoo Buddy: Jungle Carpet Pythons!

Meet Steve! He's a jungle carpet python at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo in Monroe.
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 7:38 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Meet Steve! He’s a jungle carpet python at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo.

“They come from the rainforest in Australia near Queensland, and they are probably one of the most recognizable pythons from Australia,” explains zookeeper Garrett Cole. “They typically get to be about seven feet long on average but there have been specimens that have been up to 12 feet long. They can weigh up to about 33 pounds and live up to about 20 years in the wild and up to 30 in captivity.”

Cole says these guys lay their eggs in holes in the trees. They are semi-arboreal meaning they spend a lot of time in the trees, but Cole says they do like to come down to the ground to take a dip in the water.

“I think one of the coolest things about them is they can create their own body heat when it comes to incubating their eggs,” says Cole. “A lot of people don’t know that about some snakes, but pythons specifically will twitch and vibrate their muscles to help their eggs hatch and they will lay with their eggs for 40 to 45 days until they’re ready to hatch and then they’ll abandon the nest.

Cole says their pattern actually mimics the splotchy sunlight coming through the rainforest canopy leaves, so they can blend in.

“Pythons actually do have legs, right next to their vent on their cloaca they have vestigial legs and what that means is that they are legs that they no longer use, we call them spurs. So their spurs are actually legs left over from millions of years ago when snakes actually had legs and were more like lizards and over time they’ve kind of lost that and don’t need them anymore.”

This carpet python is in the reptile department at the zoo, near the prairie dog exhibit.

His habitat was just refurbished too, so make sure to check it out! And always ask Garrett about any of the animals in the reptile exhibit, he’ll be more than happy to give you some facts about them.

The zoo is located on Berstein Park Road in Monroe and they’re open every day of the week from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Visit this Facebook page for updates on the zoo and to find out how to get more involved.