The Australian Reptile Park has welcomed some extremely rare arrivals, three Oenpelli pythons. The rare reptiles have been added to The Australian Reptile Park’s snake collection as a part of a conservation breeding program, to help with the species survival and to shed more light on the elusive species.
Considered one of the rarest snakes in the world, the Oenpelli python has a limited home range in western Arnhem Land and is vulnerable to wide-scale problems affecting the region. The Oenpelli python (Morelia oenpelliensis) was first described by Europeans as recently as 1977 and it’s long, thin body can grow to at least 5 metres.
Park General Manager Tim Faulkner led a recent 10-person expedition on a week-long search for the Oenpelli python to study the species in the wild, but to no avail.
“We are so excited to acquire such a rare snake and to learn more about the species behaviour and help raise the species profile," Faulkner said.
“We are also excited to help with the conservation of this species and to secure this species in captivity.
“We are losing mammals in Kakadu at an increased rate which means more and more Oenpelli pythons will disappear once their food source (small mammals) are all gone.”
The pythons became a part of the Australian Reptile Park's breeding program through a partnership between the Central Coast wildlife sanctuary, Oenpelli breeder Gavin Bedford and the Kakadu traditional land owners.
The Oenpelli pythons will be kept secure behind the scenes for the time being, but will make appearances during the daily reptile shows so people are able to view the rare reptile.