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Australian Wildlife

  Southern Death Adder (Acanthophis antarcticus)





Southern Death Adder | Acanthophis antarcticus photo
Southern Death Adder photographed at Australia Zoo.

Image by ozwildlife - Some rights reserved.

Southern Death Adder | Acanthophis antarcticus photo
Southern Death Adder

Image by Trevor Lawrie - Some rights reserved.



REPTILE FACTS

Description
The Death Adder is one of Australia's most venomous snakes. It has a short thick body and arrow shaped head. They burrow in leaf litter waiting for passing prey. It is aggressive if cornered or harassed. The main danger is treading on it or disturbing it while walking in bushland.

Size
It grows to 1m long but is usually less.

Habitat
Open woodland, scrub and heathland areas. It prefers undisturbed habitat.

Food
Small mammals, birds and frogs. The snake lies still for long periods waiting for prey. On approach of potential prey, the snake wiggles its tail, mimicking a worm or caterpillar. When prey is within range, it strikes at great speed.
It relies on its camouflage to remain undetected. Because of this, it is a danger to humans as it doesn't get out of the way when approached like most other snakes.

Breeding
livebearer with litter of 10-20 in late summer, although can be as much as 30.

Range
The Death Adder is found throughout much of eastern and coastal southern Australia



Classification
Class:Reptilia
Order:Squamata (Serpentes)
Family:Elapidae
Genus:Acanthophis
Species:antarcticus
Common Name:Southern Death Adder

Relatives in same Genus
  Northern Death Adder (A. praelongus)
  Desert Death Adder (A. pyrrhus)