New live exhibit in the Discovery Cente

04 April, 2008

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).  

Carpet Python, Morelia spilota metcalfei

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 update
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.


Comments (26)

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julia 20 June, 2009 19:09
it does not tell were the pythons live normally
julia 20 June, 2009 19:42
were is a diagram of the py thon and its habitat.
Discovery Centre 27 June, 2009 14:13

Julia - have you taken a look at Museum Victoria's infosheet about the python? There's also a detailed paragraph about the distribution of this species at another website explaining that the python occurs in the south western part of Queensland, all but the most eastern part of New South Wales, the most northern strip of Victoria and the south eastern part of South Australia, and that the range of distribution overlaps the drainages of the Murray River and the Darling River. Hope this helps!

Madeleine O'Connell 26 July, 2009 16:20
I have just bought a murray darling python - named Boie, can you tell me please how often they drink? he is 7 months old. Also when is a good time to handle them - he has just had a feed three days ago. Thank you
Discovery Centre 29 July, 2009 09:30

Hi thanks for your enquiry - we are going to pass on your enquiry to one of our animal keepers and will get back to you soon with an answer.

Corinne Piper 2 September, 2009 08:41
Madeleine- I also have a murray darling python, in the summer i see her drinking once or twice a day - very small amounts though and in the winter it is less.It is ok to handle Boie about 2-3 days after his feed depending on how big the feed was- once he starts eating full adult rats i would leave it a bit longer to avoid regurgitation. I hope if the discovery centre didn't get back to you that this helps.
tash 3 February, 2010 14:43
Its good what youve written. But perhaps you could put up a bit more information. Like what other animals does it compete in the wild and where it is on the food chain, and its distribution. I currently own a murray darling snake and I would like to know alot more about it. c:
Discovery Centre 4 February, 2010 11:34

Hi Tash - thanks for your feedback. Museum Victoria’s Discovery Centre offers a free enquiry service, ‘Ask the Experts’, through which you can ask our staff any questions you would like about our collections, exhibitions and areas of research, including our live exhibits! For more information about how to submit an enquiry visit our Ask the Experts webpage.

jimmy 8 June, 2010 20:26
hey guys,,,i just bought a murray carpet,and am currently working on getting him a proper enclosure,he is about three months old,ive had him for three days already and he doesnt mind being handled at all, but i dont know when his last feed was,sometimes he nips when i try to handle him,but once i have him he is ok,was wondering when is a good time to handle him as in "if hes warm or, in the morning during the day" just a bit of info would be helpfull,and my other question is hibernation,,,do these species hibernate and for how long??? cheers
Discovery Centre 10 June, 2010 12:26

Hi Jimmy – the breeder should be able to give you a feeding/shedding record for your snake, and also advise you on appropriate housing. You may wish to limit handling your snake until he is settled into his new home and feeding regularly – juvenile snakes are vulnerable (thus the defensive nipping), and may stop feeding if over-handled. Although pythons do not hibernate as such, you may find that your snake will brumate (enter a period of reduced activity) during the cooler months.

Discovery Centre 21 June, 2010 10:03

Hi Jimmy, brumating snakes should not be fed at all. Feeding should begin again in spring when the snake becomes active again, and make sure that the enclosure temperature is warm at this stage.

Kalandria 23 April, 2011 16:30
Does the Murray Darling Carpet Python have any teeth?
Discovery Centre 6 May, 2011 16:02
Hi Kalandria, Constrictors, like Carpet Pythons, have over 100 short hook-like, curved teeth. They are angled toward the throat and act as hooks to prevent live prey from wiggling loose. Snake teeth are both acrodont (attached to the bone) and polyphydont (able to grow back when lost), and a snake may have several sets of teeth throughout its lifetime. This is necessary, because teeth are often lost while feeding. Pythons have two rows of teeth on each upper jaw and one row on each lower jaw.
George 25 October, 2011 21:32
Does the murray darling carpet python live near Invergordon or Katandra
Discovery Centre 27 October, 2011 13:25

Hi George, the Murray-Darling Carpet Python can be found  in the River Red Gum and Black Box forests of the Victorian Riverina so it is likely that Katandra and Invergordon are within its range, although we are unsure whether there are still populations present. The carpet python is now endangered because of loss of habitat, predation and firewood collection. The Discovery Centre at Melbourne Museum currently has a beautiful, live Murray-Darling Carpet Python on display. 

debbie 16 November, 2011 10:15
I have just got a murry darling 4 or 5 days ago the breeder i got him of told me to feed him on monday because that was his feed day. I tried to feed him he grabs the velvet mice but he doesn't rap him self round and he will let go. I would like to know if i should wait to feed him again on monday (how long can they go with out food).
Rudi 16 May, 2013 20:38
I have a Murray darling python that is now 9 years old and have had her since hatching . Every winter she goes into brumation for about 3 months and does not eat during that period , she looses very little weight and has no loss of vigor. She is 8 feet in length and weighs just over 7 kilos. For a period she did not accept food for nearly 11 months! But that's what snakes do, they all have their own quirks!
Janine 9 July, 2013 16:49
Hi wondered if you could tell me what sort of Snake I saw. I was canoeing in River Murray at Mannum a large patterned snake went in front of my canoe about 2 metres away, gliding with a straight body, prob about 3 metres and about the width of a can of soup. I wasn't that concerned as it was travelling in a different direction to me, I stopped, stayed really still, it turned around came back and went under my canoe, so I could see it both sides, I have never paddled so quick in my life, it was strange though I have seen brown snakes and others swim and they twist through the water, not this one. Any idea what I would of seen.
Discovery Centre 15 July, 2013 09:58
Hi Janine - we do offer an identification service, but we would need to see a clear image of the snake - we cannot identify animals on the basis of descriptions only. If you have a clear image, feel free to upload it on our Ask The Experts page and we can see if it can be identified.
Mick Griffiths 22 February, 2014 12:01
good day,i have a murray darling python named ketish,i have just finished building a big snake enclosure and need to know the correct temp for her enclosure
Discovery Centre 1 March, 2014 16:30
Hi Mick, this species likes a temperature gradient in its enclosure from the high 20s to low 30s. 
Larie 1 October, 2014 20:09
Hi, I have a Murray darling python that is 5-6 years old. I cooled him for 2 months this winter and since then he has had been fed once and then shed. He was due to be fed again on the 18/09 but refused to eat, I tried again a week later but he still refused. Should I be worried?? What should I do??
Discovery Centre 4 October, 2014 15:35

Hi Larie,

Some reptiles take a while to fully emerge from brumation (hibernation) and to get back into their routine. They can respond badly if forced into too much activity too early. Two weeks is not a lot of time for a python to go without food, so your python may well start eating and behaving normally soon. If you're in doubt, the best option is to consult a vet.

Katrina 15 March, 2015 17:42
I have a 1 yr old Murray darling... Just wondering if it has teeth yet?
Discovery Centre 23 March, 2015 15:02

Hi Katrina,

Pythons develop teeth whilst still in the egg, so although the teeth are small they are definitely there. Pythons don't have 'fangs' in the same way venomous snakes do, but they need teeth to catch, hold and swallow prey throughout their lives.

thomas 23 August, 2016 12:46
how many inland carpet python are there left
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