Common Death Adder

Snakes of South East Queensland

Common Death Adder

Acanthophis antarcticus
Other common names: Death Adder
Common Death Adder

Species Profile

Significance to Humans:

Highly Venomous
Bites from this species have caused human fatalities. A ready biter only if harassed. Bites from this species should be treated immediately and attended to with correct first aid.

General description:

Short, thick body with distinct large triangular head. Narrow neck and abruptly short, thin tail, usually cream or black. Colour variable, generally shades of grey to reddish-brown with irregular cross-banding. Belly greyish-cream with dark flecks. Lips usually barred or striped. Scales may be roughish or weakly keeled. Midbody scales at 21 -23 rows.

Average Length:

40-50cm. Specimens as large as 75cm are uncommon.

Habitat in SE Qld:

Remnant or established eucalypt forest, woodland with grassy understorey and good leaf cover. Rock outcrops and ridgelines are often associated with preferable habitat.

General habits:

Nocturnal, secretive and highly cryptic it lies half-buried in substrate to ambush prey often using its tail tip to attract prey.


Small mammals, lizards, frogs and other reptiles.

Local distribution:

The specific nature of required habitat sees this species restricted to remnant forest areas of the D’Aguilar Range including Mt Nebo and Mt Glorious. It also occurs to the south. Outside of these areas the only reliable suburban record of late came from the front verandah of a home in Upper Brookfield.

Around the home:

The specific nature of required habitat makes encounters a rare event. However, the species preference for heavy leaf litter may see it turn up in forested gardens near suitable habitat.

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