Thursday, 7 April 2011

Inland Carpet Python

 Yesterday we were heading off to town and were surprised and pleased to come across the 1.5 metre Inland Carpet Python (Morelia spilota metcalfei) in the accompanying photos just inside our front gate.
It's been over 7 years since we saw another of these on the farm. It was about 2 metres in length and not far from Lookout Rock.
It is unusual to see Carpet Pythons locally and discussions with local long term residence suggests they were once more common. Whilst Carpet Pythons are not listed as endangered nationally (Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999) or in New South Wales (Threatened Species Conservation Act of 1995) they are listed as 'threatened' in Victoria under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. (NB: Our sincere thanks go to our nephew Scott H for researching the status on these 3 Acts of parliament for us).
To quote from the Melbourne Museum website: "Inland Carpet Pythons are preyed upon by foxes. Furthermore, habitat loss through logging and firewood collection has reduced their range. They are also commonly killed by humans, even though they are largely harmless and are natural enemies of pests such as introduced mice and rats. Inland Carpet Pythons are semi-arboreal, living in tree hollows and rock crevices. Females lay 10–50 eggs every 3–4 years and guard their clutch, ‘shivering’ to generate heat to warm the eggs. Inland Carpet Pythons are not venomous, but kill their prey by constriction. They ambush their prey and wrap themselves around the animal, squeezing until it dies from suffocation. Despite this, Inland Carpet Pythons are popular as pets since they are generally not aggressive towards humans."

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