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Death Adder

Death Adder

Acanthopis praelongus

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The northern variety of this snake has a broad triangular head, with a short, thick body and thin 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. Some color variations also exist within the same species from region to region.

While other snakes generally retreat when humans approach, death adders remain motionless, blending in with their environment. Most fatal bites to humans occur after accidentally stepping on these snakes, provoking a bite.

Did You Know?

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


The death adder’s diet consists mainly of frogs, birds, lizards, mice and rats. It uses its tail as a grub-like lure to attract prey within striking distance.


The death adder of northern Australia generally grows between 31 and 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.


The death adder’s deadly venom prevents most animals from preying on it, but they are cannibalistic.

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