There are 15 species of python in Australia, making up a quarter of all the snakes that live here.
Pythons are probably the most commonly seen snake in suburban backyards, the most familiar being the Carpet Python in Queensland and the Diamond Python in eastern NSW and Victoria.
The pythons at Potoroo Palace have a new reptile house with comfortable enclosures with heat pads, heat lamps and swimming pools. They each also have a sunning enclosure where they can be seen when the weather is suitable. At talk times they may be taken out to meet visitors.
Did you know?
Unlike mammals, snakes continue to grow for as long as they live. That’s why they can reach massive lengths: the largest Australian snake, the Amethystine Python from North Queensland can exceed 8 metres, and is one of the biggest snakes in the world.
Pythons are shy and non-poisonous, although it’s best to keep your distance as their curved backward facing teeth do give a painful bite.
The carpet python (Morelia spilota) is also commonly referred to as the diamond python or carpet snake. Scientists have described many subspecies,
Cuddles is an unusual yellowish colour and was the star on a television programme in January 2019, What’s Up Downunder, with keeper, Tahnee Harris handling him.
Maxine – Childrens python
These beautiful little pythons normally grow to about 1 metre long. Children’s pythons didn’t get their name because they are good with children (although they are), or because they eat children (they don’t). They are named after John Children, a curator from the British Museum in the 1840’s.
Maxine is very shy. She is a Children’s Python, the smallest of the Australian pythons. She has a favourite fern in a pot. When she is coiled around it she feels secure. She also likes to nestle under the keeper’s jumper or shirt.
Daffodil and Hyacinth – Carpet pythons
They came to us after a young man let them loose in his mother’s house.
His mother was not pleased and wanted them gone.
They are large pythons and when they shed their skins we are able to sell the skins in the souvenir part of the café.
‘Woma’ – Woma python
Woma was donated by a woman who brought him down from the Northern Territory.
She found that her daughter did not want him, so she gave him to us.
He is a very shy python and is often hiding under the log in his pen.
Indigo – Childrens python
Indigo is also a Children’s Python. She is more relaxed. It is easy to see her curled inside her false rock against the glass in the Reptile House.
‘Lucy’ – Spotted python
These snakes are famous for their unusual method of catching one of their favourite foods – insectivorous bats. Spotted pythons hang upside down at the entrance to caves, using their tails to hold on to the rock so that their body is free.
When the tiny bats fly out of the cave, the snakes grab them mid-flight and eat them while they’re still hanging there.
Lucy is very gentle, cooperative and easy to handle. She is a perfect snake for a beginner or a nervous person because she is always calm.
Olivia was a much loved Olive Python. Sadly she is no longer with us due to health complications from her life before she came to live at Potoroo Palace. She weighed 13 kilos.
She had a gentle friendly nature. Often there would be a visitor who shudderered even at the word ‘snake’.
Olivia had a way of calming people and seemed drawn to vulnerable or injured people. She loved to explore the park, with a chaperone, and she shined with rainbow colours whenever she was in the sun.
She is the Rainbow Serpent and we will always love her.
Did you know?
Snakes have no ears and no eyelids. Often people do not realise that they are asleep, because their eyes look open. All snakes are extremely sensitive and easily frightened. Even wild snakes respond well to a calm handler.
‘Zandra’- Carpet Python.
He was donated to the sanctuary because he would bite whenever he was handled by his carer.
He is a nervous, very active snake, but he has not bitten anyone since coming to live here.He is a favourite with visitors when he is being fed because he is always hungry and his strikes at his prey are fast.