Pythons moving into Attics

Endangered Carpet Pythons are moving into people's homes in response to a lack of natural shelters.

In research published in the latest edition of Austral Ecology, Ben Corey and Sean Doody from the University of Canberra and the Department of Parks and Wildlife WA, found that in areas where tree hollows were scarce due to human impacts, pythons preferred to live inside buildings, sheds, and particularly, attics.

Python
Carpet Python, Morelia spilota. Photo: Ben Corey

“We found that the pythons were reasonably flexible in terms of places they can live” said researcher Ben Corey. “They particularly like to live in tree hollows, but attics will suffice, as long as these are adjacent to naturally vegetated areas.”

Corey and Doody radio-tracked 17 carpet pythons for up to 13 months in Willandra National Park NSW. They studied populations in both relatively untouched forest, and areas that had been impacted by human activity such as land clearing, grazing, and invasive species. They documented where the pythons were choosing to live as well as their diet.

Radio tracking
Radio tracking carpet pythons. Photo: Ben Corey

"Three quarters of the diet of pythons consists of pests such as rabbits and house mice," said Corey. “So with these potential benefits, keeping woodland habitat close to buildings is a great way to conserve these harmless snakes, as well as taking out feral rodents and rabbits".

So, if you live near some bush and in a house with an attic, you might just be helping to provide a lovely home for an otherwise homeless friendly snake and have less feral pests as part of the bargain. The project was supported by the Institute for Applied Ecology at the University of Canberra.

python coming out of roof
Carpet Python coming out of roof. Photo: Ben Corey

For further details, please contact: Celine Yap- ESA Media Relations Intern
Mobile: 0409 590 236 Email: c.yap@deakin.edu.au

ESA is the peak professional scientific organisation for ecologists in Australia, with 1500 members from all states and territories. ESA has a 50 year history of supporting ecologists, ecological research and promoting ecological knowledge. 

Event date: 
Saturday, April 2, 2016