Name: Common Death Adder (Acanthophis antarcticus)
Conservation Status: Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)
Classification and Taxonomy:
Distribution: The common death adder occurs over much of eastern and coastal southern Australia – Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. It is more scarce in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and the west parts of South Australia. It is also native to Papua New Guinea.
Habitat: Common death adders are found in forests, woodlands, grasslands and heaths of the eastern coast of Australia. The death adder is a master of camouflage, due to its band stripes, hiding beneath loose leaf litter and debris in woodland, shrubland and grassland.
Diet: Common death adders eat small mammals and birds as a primary diet. Unlike other snakes, the common death adder lies in wait for its prey (often for many days) until a meal passes. It covers itself with leaves—making itself inconspicuous—and lies coiled in ambush, twitching its 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 waits for the victim to die before eating it.
Reproduction: Unlike most snakes, death adders produce litters of live young. In the late summer, a female death adder will produce a litter of live offspring, approximately 3–20, however over 30 young have been recorded in a single litter.
Venom: The common death adder venom contains highly toxic neurotoxin which can cause paralysis or even death. It can deliver the fastest strike among all venomous snakes recorded in Australia. Human death can occur within six hours after the bite.
Dymadex's blogs on reptiles and amphibians. Reptiles are tetrapod animals characterized by scaly skin. Amphibians are ectothermic, tetrapod vertebrates characterized by smooth skin.
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