“In my opinion - derived from what I was told by aboriginals and others in the Northern Territory - I think there could very well be a large unknown python that is an ecological analogue of the Anaconda living a totally aquatic existence in at least the north-west of the Northern Territory where floating meadow swamps still exist. What was described to me was definitely not oenpelliensis ....Regards"- Richard Wells
As can be seen from Richard’s brief description above, he distinguishes the undescribed python species from the Oenpelli Python “Simalia oenpelliensis, formerly Morelia oenpelliensis” which look somewhat like a giant children’s python on steroids and were described as recently as 1977 by herpetologist Graeme Gow. They are confined to the tropical woodlands and sandstone gorge country in western Arnhem Land. The beauty of the Oenpelli python has been described by herpetologist professor Richard Shine, quote - "To see one of these giant ghostly snakes stretched out on the Arnhem Land escarpment in the moonlight is one of the great sights of Australian herpetology."
Richard Wells description and comparison to the anaconda brings to mind the extinct prehistoric serpent “Wonambi naracootensis” which could have possibly been an aquatic species and along with the larger representatives of the Morelia family, such as the Oenpelli Python, probably form the archetypal origin of the legendery Rainbow Serpent of Aboriginal mythology. The Rainbow Serpent myth may even represent a primal memory of Aboriginal encounters with the Wonambi python in prehistoric Australia.
illustration from "Kadimakara Extinct Vertebrates of Australia"