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#ThreatenedThursday: Plains Death Adder

#ThreatenedThursday: Plains Death Adder

November 11, 2021


SPECIES: Acanthophis hawkei — Plains Death Adder, Barkly Tableland Death Adder

CLASSIFICATION: Vulnerable


The Plains Death Adder or Barkly Tableland Death Adder is a short, stout and banded snake, with a triangular head distinct from the neck and a slender tail tipped with a spine. Like all death adders, they are highly venomous ambush foragers, using their modified tail-tip to imitate a poor, defenceless insect. Crafty. They roam the flat, treeless cracking-soil riverine floodplains in search and wait for unassuming frongs, reptiles and rats. Their habitat extends from western Qld to the north of NT and across to the north-east of WA.


Unfortunately for the Adder, it’s the Cane Toad that is more responsive to being lured as prey than native prey species. As is wth so many other native species, Cane Toads have proven extremely lethal to the Plains Death Adder and populations so far, have not been able to recover. This has lead to as much as an 89% decrease in Adder numbers when Cane Toads have arrived in an area.