Diamond pythons are a race of carpet python — a not-so-distinct subspecies.
Question: What’s the difference between a carpet python and a diamond python? They have the same Latin name, Morelia spilota, so I’m confused.
Dylan Larson, Cambridge, Mass.
Answer: Diamond pythons are a race of carpet python — a not-so-distinct subspecies, in fact. I say that because there’s a broad zone of intergradation between the “true” diamond python found in the southeast region of Australia centered around Sydney and the crossbanded carpets. The mostly speckled diamonds start showing the change roughly 50 miles north of Sydney and continue to meld into typical carpets from there northward.
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The issue becomes much more clouded when discussing captive snakes, especially here in the U.S., because the exact heritage of our breeding stock is mostly unknown. The progenitors of virtually all of what’s floating around today arrived via circuitous means, due to illegal importation, that didn’t preserve origin information very thoroughly. The pureness of a diamond python, therefore, is based almost entirely on appearance and how closely it resembles a snake pictured in its owner’s favorite reference book or on a website.
It really boils down to individual preferences on what appeals to breeders and potential buyers as to how pure most U.S. diamond pythons are.