Help save the Murray-Darling carpet python
The Murray-Darling carpet python is under threat, and we need your help!
In order to find out more about the distribution and numbers of this rare species, we’re calling on members of the community to log their Murray-Darling carpet python sightings using our online form.
Your contributions will play a valuable role in helping to conserve this native species, and the habitat it relies on.
What is a Murray-Darling carpet python?
The Murray-Darling carpet python (Morelia spilota metcalfi), also known as the inland carpet python, is a native python found across many landscapes in South-Eastern Australia. They are non-venomous, typically timid and pose little threat to people.
Murray-Darling carpet pythons are strikingly patterned with silver, black and even maroon patches. They average around 2.4 metres in length but have been known to grow to around 2.7 metres. As a non-venomous species, they constrict their prey, relying on small mammals, frog, lizards and birds for food. They also offer an effective method of pest control by feeding on pest species such as rodents and rabbits.
This semi-arboreal (tree dwelling) species can be found in vegetation, near waterways, rocky outcrops, warrens and in pump sheds. In the Murraylands and Riverland, historical sightings have concentrated along the river corridor from Blanchetown to Mannum and inland from Palmer, Rockleigh, Sandleton, Saunders Gorge and Wistow.
What has caused the number of Murray-Darling carpet pythons to decline?
Murray-Darling carpet pythons were once common in South Australia, including in the Murraylands and Riverland. Land clearance, fragmentation and illegal poaching has caused significant declines in their number.
Today, they are considered to be Rare.
The Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board is working to develop a better understanding of the current distribution of pythons in South Australia. This information will also help our ecologists to find out what habitat they may prefer and what their breeding and overwintering requirements might be.
It is hoped that future work will include tracking a select number of pythons to find out how they move through the landscape. This aspect of the project will also help to identify some of the critical habitat needs might be for the species in response to breeding, winter requirements and protection from threats. Developing this knowledge will then help our team to implement conservation measures to conserve this species and protect the most critical components of their habitat.
What can I do to help the Murray-Darling carpet python?
The community plays a significant role in the conservation of many threatened species, including the Murray-Darling carpet python.
If you come across one, leave a safe distance so you don’t alarm it. If it’s safe to do so, take a picture. Make sure you log your sighting online and encourage your friends and family to see if they too can spy a python.
This project is supported by the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board through funding from the landscape levies.