News from the Field

Rare Rough-scaled Python spotted on Dambimangari country

11 Apr. 2019
© Larissa Potter/AWC

AWC ecologists have turned up one of Australia’s rarest reptiles while spotlighting on Dambimangari country in the northwest Kimberley. It’s the second recent record of this elusive Kimberley endemic for the area.

Little is known of the Rough-scaled Python’s natural history in the wild. The pythons likely spend the majority of their time waiting in ambush, coiled on a branch or rock ledge until an unsuspecting rock-rat or frog ventures close enough to strike.

Due to the remote and inaccessible nature of the country they inhabit, Rough-scaled Pythons are very seldom seen, and the species was only described scientifically in 1973. Most records are from the Mitchell Plateau further north, but in 2013 AWC researchers found one of the pythons at Artesian Range, extending the known range of the species.

AWC is working with Dambimangari rangers to look after 800,000 hectares of their traditional land, which is situated in the only area of Australia to have suffered no animal extinctions since European settlement. Other threatened and endemic species recorded on Dambimangari country include the Golden-backed Tree-rat, the Monjon, the Golden Bandicoot, and the Northern Quoll.

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