What do they look like? Short, robust and about 40cm. long. Unlike many other elapids they have a distinctive neck and a somewhat triangular shaped head. Death Adders vary in colour reflecting where they are found and the colour of their surroundings. Common colour variations are greys and browns to yellows and reds. Markings usually consist of irregular cross-bands with the tip of its tail often marked distinctly from the rest of its body. This tail is very thin in relation to its body.
Where do they live? From southern coasts of Western Australia and south -eastern South Australia, throughout most of New South Wales and the south east and the eastern interior of Queensland. Common Death Adders are found in open woodlands, scrub and heath habitats. There are 6 species of Death Adder in Australia, mostly located in isolated distribution.
What do they eat? Small mammals and birds. Juveniles will eat small reptiles.
Behaviour: Death Adders are ambush-predators. They hide underneath leaf litter and use the tip of their tail to mimic a small grub, worm or maggot to lure in prey. They have an amazingly fast strike to prevent the animal from biting their tail, usually letting go of their prey after injecting their highly potent venom.
Reproduction: Females can give birth to as many as 20 live young in a litter. Gestation can last between 6-9 months with young usually born between December and April. Females will usually give birth every second year.
Threats: Changes in land use, habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation of available habitat, removal of woody debris, road kill and the introduction of the cane toad have contributed to the decline of this species. Snakes are also still killed by humans due to fear.
Conservation Status: Listed as near threatened in Queensland.