Common Death Adder (Acanthophis antarcticus)

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DESCRIPTION – Reddish brown to dark grey with darker cross bands, white lips with darker markings. Large, triangular head, stocky bodied. Tail, ranging from black to yellow terminates rapidly into thin tip of soft, raised, textured scales. Grows to 75cm. 21-23 mid body scales, 110-135 ventral, 35-60 sub ventral, anal single. Family: Elapidae.

DISTRIBUTION – South WA across southern SA, across most of NSW, into northeast QLD. Dry woodland and forest, rainforest margins, arid to semi-arid heaths, and grasslands.

ECOLOGY – Largely nocturnal, may ambush hunt by day. Feeds on lizards, frogs, birds, and mammals. Ambush predator, settling into substrates, using camouflage and caudal tail-lure to attract prey. Ovoviviparous, 2-32 live young.

VENOM – HIGHLY VENOMOUS – Powerful, potentially deadly neurotoxic and some coagulopathic components. While this snake used to cause many deaths due to its ambush-hunting behavior, contemporary fatalities are rare with proper first aid and treatment.

Updated November 2019 from Eipper, S. & Eipper, T. (2019) A Naturalists Guide To The Snakes Of Australia. John Beaufoy Publishing.