Question: Who’s the Discovery Centre’s new live exhibit?
Answer: The Discovery Centre is now home to a live Murray Darling Carpet Python, aptly named Murray. Murray, who we think is about seven years old, is 3.2kg and 1.8m long.
The Murray Darling Carpet Python, Morelia spilota metcalfei, is also known as the Inland or Riverine Carpet Python). It is one of only two pythons found in Victoria, the other being the Diamond Python, Morelia spilota spilota (they are the same species, but different subspecies).
A Murray Darling Carpet Python, Morelia spilota metcalfei
Photographer: Peter Robertson, Source: Wildlife Profiles Pty Ltd.
Carpet Pythons are listed as endangered in Victoria. They were once common, but are now restricted to small local populations. In Victoria, they are located in the north of the state and are predominantly found in Rocky country, Riverine forests, River Redgum Forests and Black Box Forests of the Murray Darling Basin.
The major threat to their survival is habitat destruction, particularly the collection of wood from their habitat to be used as firewood. They are also killed by cats, foxes and humans. Sadly, many people still believe that if you see a snake, you should kill it. This has a devastating effect on an already endangered species where every individual is precious to the survival of the species.
In the wild, Murray Darling Carpet Pythons eat birds and small mammals. In captivity they are generally fed on mice and rats. Sadly for Murray, his keepers have decided that he is a little overweight and have put him on a diet. He is currently restricted to one mouse a month or one rat every six weeks.
Visitors who wish to learn more about Murray Darling Carpet Pythons (or any of the other live exhibits at Museum Victoria) are welcome to attend one of our keeper talks which are held in the Discovery Centre at 12:30 on Sundays.
The Discovery Centre is located on the lower ground level of the Melbourne Museum. We are open from 10am to 4:30pm, seven days a week (closed Christmas Day and Good Friday). Entry is free.
Leela, the Veiled Chameleon who usually occupies the live exhibit enclosure in the Discovery Centre, is still recovering from her recent operation (see the previous Question of the Week). Her fans will be pleased to know that she is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery.