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Morelia spilota is a large species of python in the genus Morelia, reaching between 2 to 4 metres (6.6 to 13 ft) in length and weighing up to 15 kilograms (33 lb). M. s. mcdowelli is the largest subspecies, regularly attaining lengths of 2.7–3 m (8.9–9.8 ft). M. s. variegata is the smallest subspecies, averaging 120–180 cm (3.9–5.9 ft) in length. The average adult length is roughly 2 metres (6.6 ft). However, one 3-year-old captive male M. s. mcdowelli, measured in Ireland, was found to exceed 396 cm (12.99 ft). Males are typically smaller than females; in some regions females are up to four times heavier. The head is triangular with a conspicuous row of thermoreceptive labial pits.
The colouring of Morelia spilota spilota is highly variable, olive to black with white or cream and gold markings. The patterning may be roughly diamond shaped or have intricate markings made up of light and dark bands on a background of gray or a version of brown.
The species is oviparous, with females laying 10-50 eggs at a time. Afterward, females coil around the eggs to protect them and keep them warm through using muscular contractions to generate heat. This type of maternal care, which is typical for pythons, ceases once the hatchlings have emerged.
Described as semi-arboreal, they are largely nocturnal, climbing trees and shrubs as well as crossing open areas such as rock faces, forest floors and even roads. However, basking behaviour is commonly observed.
The diet consists mainly of small mammals, bats, birds and lizards. Morelia spilota kills prey by constricting it until it suffocates. It is often the largest predator in its ecological niche.
The species is found throughout mainland Australia, with the exception of the arid centre and the western regions. It is widely distributed throughout the forest regions of Southwest Australia. It is also found in Indonesia (southern Western New Guinea in Merauke Regency), Papua New Guinea (southern Western Province, the Port Moresby area of Central Province), and on Yule Island. The type locality given is “Nouvelle-Hollande” [Australia].
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