Carpet Pythons (Morelia spilota) exhibit substantial geographic variation not only in size and colour, but also in mating systems: reproductive males in some populations battle with their rivals, whereas courting males in other locations tolerate the proximity of others. During the spring mating season (August–September) of 2017, a large male Carpet Python took up residence with a reproductive female on the roof of a house in northeastern New South Wales for at least six weeks, and was observed in intense battles with two rival males that arrived at the site. Bouts progressed from stereotyped wrestling to vigorous biting, causing severe lesions. This (apparently successful) mate defence constitutes the first report of prolonged mate-guarding behaviour in any pythonid species.

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