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Commonly asked questions answered for this species of Death Adder....

Keeping the Common Death Adder, Acanthophis antarcticus

NATURE 4 YOU – Tie and Scott Eipper

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The Common Death Adder is a species of snake that must only be kept by experienced elapid keepers. The toxicity of the venom combined with the speed and accuracy of the strike make the Common Death Adder a species suited for the more experienced keeper.

We at Nature 4 You do not endorse the keeping of venomous snakes without suitable experience and only when you have the appropriate permits and facilities to care for the animal properly.


COMMON NAMES: Common Death Adder

SCIENTIFIC NAMES: Acanthophis antarcticus

PRONUNCIATION: ak-anth-oh-fis ant-ark-tik-us

ETYMOLOGY: Acanthophis – spine-snake, antarcticus - southern



LIFE EXPENTANCY: Common Death Adders have been known to live over 15yrs in captivity.

The Common Death Adder is native to Australia, found on the New South Wales/Victoria border in the east through most of New South Wales and into Queensland. They also inhabit the southern coast of Australia in South Australia and Perth. Common Death Adders live in wide variety of habitat: woodlands, grasslands, rainforests, mallee and brigalow. Death Adders are mostly nocturnal and are usually found either crossing the road at night, or in leaf litter in the ambush position. Death Adders don’t actively hunt prey, they rely on their camouflage and sit in wait in leaf litter for unsuspecting frogs, small lizards, birds, and small mammals. The tail is used as a caudal lure and is waved around above their head like a worm, hoping to entice unsuspecting prey in with it. The Common Death Adder is a medium sized elapid with a robust body. Colour varies greatly on the Common Death Adder. It can range from light tan to dark brown and pale cream to dark red. There are dark crossbands on most specimens. The underneath is usually lighter than the dorsal colouration, with darker flecking. White or cream barring is prominent on the lips. The caudal lure can be black, but in most specimens, it is white to yellow in colour. Their venom is neurotoxic, with weak haemolytic and anticoagulant activity.

Common Death Adder, Acanthophis antarctius, Sydney.

Common Death Adder, Acanthophis antarcticus, Sydney. Red colour form.