Diamonds Aren’t Always a Girl’s Best Friend
A not so welcome visitor will be moving around your neighbourhood in November, looking for mates and laying eggs. If she slithers her way into your garden or into your roof, you will need to toughen up a little this month in the presence of this harmless troublemaker.
The Diamond Python is found all along the New South Wales coastline down into the north-eastern corner of Victoria. They are frequently spotted in Sydney suburbs that border on bushland. But don’t fret, like all pythons, these snakes are non-venomous.
ow that it is breeding season, male Diamond Pythons will travel up to 500 m a day, following a scent trail left by a female. The female leaves a trail behind when she is ready to find a mate. This can lead to difficulties when up to five males have followed her trail!
As well as having a greater chance of seeing these buddies in groups at the moment, you’re also more likely to see them around your house as your roof cavity can make the perfect place for a female to wait for potential mates to find her.
To stop you getting too worried about this troublemaker, here’s the good news. This buddy might look big and scary, but it is actually relatively harmless. As well as being non-poisonous, the Diamond Python is one of the most placid snakes in Australia, rarely hissing or threatening people. They are the big friendly giants (up to three metres long!) of our neighbourhoods.
Some more good news about these visitors is that two of their favourite meals are rats and mice, which makes them great pest controllers. A Diamond Python is an ambush predator and will often wait for days until a small animal gets close enough for it to strike out and grab its prey unawares. It then squeezes the animal until it suffocates and then swallows it whole.
Diamond Pythons breed during spring. In November to December the mum will lay her eggs in a nest. She will usually lay around 10 to 30 eggs which she curls around to protect them from predators. Mum python will also create heat for the incubating eggs by shivering and shaking while coiled around them. This is very rare parental care for a snake, making the Diamond Python extra special.
Male Diamond Pythons have a big home range of around 45 hectares and females have a range of around 20 hectares. If this buddy does pop up in your garden don’t worry as they are always on the move and won’t stay in one place indefinitely. They live up to around 20 years so if you spot a Diamond Python more than once, even if it was years apart, it could be the same buddy.
Even if you feel confident that a snake you’ve spotted is a Diamond Python never pick them up or get too close, or try to shoo them. These pythons might not have venom but their fangs will still hurt if you get bitten. There are also some snakes out there that are poisonous so it’s not worth taking the risk. You can call a snake catcher if you would like to have the snake removed.
To identify a snake you have spotted, you can visit the What Snake is That? website.
DID YOU KNOW?
There are a whopping 384 known species of snakes in Australia but only 25 of them are considered potentially deadly to humans.
Diamond Pythons are more common visitors to backyards that have aviaries, chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs because all these animals appear as potential food to pythons. If you really don’t want these buddies sticking around, make sure the enclosures for your pets don’t have any holes larger than a 20 cent coin, to stop the snakes from poking around.