Endangered snakes reintroduced to a conservation zone near Roxby Downs in outback South Australia have been virtually wiped out in a short time.
Adelaide Zoo and the Arid Recovery Group introduced nine woma pythons into the area late last year.
John Read from Arid Recovery says only one of the womas is still alive – the others have been hunted and eaten by king brown snakes.
He says it was wrongly thought the woma pythons would prey on other snakes.
“So I guess in hindsight given that the king browns we get here are 1.5 getting on towards 2.5 metres in length, I guess it’s not surprising that they would take the occasional woma that is smaller than them,” he said.
Mr Read says the outcome is disappointing but not a total loss.
“This is one of the first times ever that captive bred snakes have been released in the wild and we weren’t sure whether snakes that had spent five years feeding on frozen white mice would know how to recognise how to hunt and eat wild food,” he said.
“Well at least four of our pythons definitely have done that.”