June Monthly Meeting
Friday, June 15, 2018
"Carpet Pythons: The Misunderstood and Highly Variable Species You Didn't Know You Loved"
Today the reptile hobby and community are extremely diverse and full of unique species to captivate all types and interests of keepers everywhere. Ranging from large to small, challenging to easy to provide for, there is a species for everyone out there. When newcomers find themselves going down this rabbit hole, the advice given tends to follow trends and steer people in biased directions resulting in popular species and persecuted species. Carpet Pythons are one of those often-persecuted species and exist amidst a cloud of fear, misinformation, and exaggeration.
Endemic to Australia and neighboring New Guinea, Carpet Pythons are hardy, intelligent, adaptive animals that are well suited for life in human care. Their preference for mammalian prey, tolerance of harsh environments, and docile disposition make them a wonderful snake for all levels of keeper experience. They are also among the most naturally diverse and variable species of snakes in the world, with a seemingly endless phenotypic assortment. However, much of the community is not aware of this and even has been fed opposite information from someone who may have had one negative unique experience. What most people forget is that accidents, bites, etc. can happen with ANY species of snake. So why the widespread negative undertones for these seemingly ideal pet snakes?
Aside from working with Carpet Pythons (Morelia), Riley has a unique combination of experiences from personal keeping adventures to working as a Reptile Keeper for the Santa Barbara Zoo. From working with venomous snakes, crocodilians, amphibians, and invertebrates, Riley has developed a diverse understanding of animal behavior and a deeply entrenched affinity for these creatures. While in the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) community, his focus ranged between behavioral training of water monitors and alligators, venomous snake management, and socializing animals to become education ambassadors. These aspects perfectly compliment his work with the misunderstood Carpet Pythons in his private collection for the past six years.