Death Adder

Death Adder

Acanthopis praelongus


The death adder lures its prey using the tip of its tail as bait.

Exhibit Name and Location:
Baltimore - Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes

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Death Adder

The northern variety of this snake has a broad triangular head, with a short, thick body and skinny tail. Golden and brown stripes alternate along its body, fading to a more consistent brown close to the head.

Other varieties of death adder are similar in appearance, with the greatest change from species to species being a difference in coloration, although even within species there are variations in color from region to region.

While other snakes generally retreat when humans approach, death adders remain motionless, blending in with their environment, making them all the more dangerous to humans. 

Most fatal bites to humans occur because of this tendency, as humans accidentally step on the snakes, provoking a bite.


This snake’s diet consists mainly of frogs, birds, lizards, mice, and rats. It uses its tail as a grub-like lure to draw prey into striking distance.


The death adder of northern Australia generally grows to about 31–36 inches long.


The northern death adder’s range is limited to the forests and woodlands of northern Australia, but other varieties of death adder inhabit other areas of Australia.

Population Status

Although the northern death adder is currently common within its range, its numbers are believed to be declining as its habitat is progressively eroded by human activity.


Their deadly venom prevents most animals from preying on death adders, but they are cannibalistic.

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A Note From the Caretaker

Death adders are tremendously venomous snakes. The Aquarium has a very elaborate system of checks and balances in place, including alarms and antivenin to ensure the safe management of these animals.