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Carpet snakes in the spotlight!

Carpet Snake spotlighting isn’t exactly a common Mallee pastime – but the Mallee CMA’s first Inland Carpet Python survey night at Sea Lake later this month is likely to attract plenty of interest.

Carpet snakes in the spotlight!

Morelia spilota metcalfei - the Inland Carpet Python

A dinner and workshop on the iconic Mallee reptile Morelia spilota metcalfei will be held at the Sea Lake Community Complex on March 24, ahead of a community survey exercise along the Tyrrell Creek.

Mallee CMA will host the event as part of a $22m initiative funded by the Victorian Government, Our Catchments Our Communities. The initiative is part of the Water for Victoria plan, aimed at improving the health of our catchments for the benefit of Victorians.

The Tyrrell Project: Ancient Landscapes, New Connections, is a community-driven landscape-scale project that celebrates the unique social, cultural and environmental values of this iconic landscape by developing strong working partnerships to deliver lasting outcomes.  

Mallee CMA chair Sharyon Peart said the spotlighting survey was in response to declining anecdotal reports of Inland Carpet Python activity in the region.

“Carpet Pythons are peaceful, slow moving reptiles, harmless to humans and generally Mallee people are really fond of them,” Ms Peart said.

“They’re found along the floodplain and in woodlands along waterways, especially around Tyrrell Creek and along the Murray River, but we’re concerned that the number of anecdotal reports of sightings are declining,” she said.

Mallee CMA Project Officer for Land and Biodiversity Kate McWhinney said everyone was welcome to come along to the event to learn more about an iconic local species.

“Carpet Pythons are listed as a threatened species in Victoria and live in leaf litter, hollow trees and fallen timber, so they can be quite hard to spot,” Ms McWhinney said.

“But we know they’re in the Boigbeat area and are quite active at night, so the idea of a spotlight survey is to try to find out more about how many there are, but also, just to give people an opportunity to actually see the pythons in the wild.

“We think people will love it – and it’s especially a great opportunity to get children interested in what’s in their backyard and be involved in citizen science.”

Inland Carpet Pythons are one of only two python species native to Victoria.  They eat mice, rats, possums and rabbits, and will climb trees to reach into the nests of Galahs and Cockatoos.

Carpet Pythons breed only every three to four years and Ms McWhinney said that was one of the natural factors making them vulnerable.

“But there are also some introduced threats such as clearing and degradation of their habitat, the risk of road kill and predators like foxes and feral cats,” she said.

“We’re hoping our survey will increase the knowledge base and provide more data for the Atlas of Living Australia and Victorian Biodiversity Atlas.

 

“But the other important thing is to just let people enjoy and understand these guys a little better so as a community we can do more to protect them for the future.”

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