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Common death adder

common death adder (Acanthophis antarcticus)
Bringalily State Forest, Queensland
Photo © Stewart Macdonald
Acanthophis antarcticus - (Shaw & Nodder, 1802)
Pronunciation  AK-anth-OH-fiss   an-TARK-tick-uss
Etymology  Acanthophis: 'spine snake', refering to the spine at the tip of the tail.
antarcticus: 'southern', referring to Australia's position in the Southern Hemisphere.
Other names  Coastal death adder
Boa antarctica 
Total length
Species avg: 70 cm
Species max: 100 cm
Litter size
Average: 8
Range: 2 - 33
Length and clutch size information comes from a variety of sources, but primarily from Shine (1991) and Cogger (2000).
Description Distribution Natural history Conservation Further information More photos


Short and stout. Scales smooth or weekly keeled. Grey, brown or reddish in colour with lighter transverse bands across the body. Tip of tail is pale.

Similar species

Scale count information

Dorsal scales at midbody   21 to 23
Ventrals   110 to 135 with a single anal scale
Subcaudals   35 to 60 and are single
Other scale information   Midbody scales are smooth to slightly keeled.
A few posterior subcaudals scales may be divided.
Usually has 21 midbody scales, but may occasionally have 23.
Danger rating   Highly dangerous - long fangs and very toxic venom.
Note: even a bite from a 'virtually harmless' or non-venomous reptile can result in serious complications. Play it safe and don't get bitten by anything.
Notes and disclaimer
This information may not be complete. While all care is taken to ensure the accuracy of the information in this page, primary sources should always be consulted for definitive information. Animals have an endearing habit of disobeying the rules, so the information on this page should be interpreted with a degree of flexibility.
The author and site operator accepts no responsibility for any losses or damages incurred through using this web site or the information contained herein. Don't get bitten by anything!
This page may be cited as:
  Acanthophis antarcticus at the Australian Reptile Online Database. Last updated 2018-02-10 19:04:46.
  Retrieved from on the 20th of August, 2019.
Before citing information contained in AROD, please read our Citing AROD page.

Copyright notice
This page, its content and layout are copyright © 2007-2019 Stewart Macdonald / Ug Media, unless otherwise stated.
All photographs in The Australian Reptile Online Database are © the photographer and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the photographer.
No part of The Australian Reptile Online Database may be reproduced without written permission from Stewart Macdonald.
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