Animal Species:Common Death Adder - Acanthophis antarcticus
There are several species of death adders in Australia but the Common Death Adder is the only one found in the Sydney region.
Standard Common Name
Common Death Adder
Coastal Death Adder
Number of species
The Common Death Adder is easily recognised by its triangular-shaped head, short stout body and thin tail.
Common Death Adders are found along the east coast from about Townville to southern NSW and inland into semi aridsouthern NSW and southern Qld. They are also found along the sandy coastal section from Adelaide west across the Nullarbor and on the Perth coastal plain.
The Common Death Adder lives in forests and woodlands, grasslands and heath.
Feeding and Diet
The Common Death Adder feeds on frogs, lizards and birds and, unlike most Australian venomous snakes that actively search for prey, this snake sits in one place and waits for prey to come to it. Covering itself with leaves makes it inconspicuous and it lies coiled in ambush, twitching its yellowish grub-like tail close to its head as a lure. When an animal approaches to investigate the movement, the death adder quickly strikes, injecting its venom and then waiting for the victim to die before eating it.
The Common Death Adder may give birth to up to 24 live young.
Danger to humans and first aid
Death adders have relatively large fangs and toxic venom and, before the introduction of antivenom, about 60% of bites to humans were fatal.
Mr Stephen Mahony , Herpetological Technical Officer
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