CO2 Australia Ecologist, Andrew Dawson, recently found this elusive Common Death Adder (Acanthophis antarcticus), whilst conducting bird surveys on a 20 Million Trees property near Texas, Qld (part of the National Landcare Programme). This conservation property has been managed by CO2 Australia since 2016, to restore habitat for various threatened species. Despite its name, the Common Death Adder is anything but common, and is particularly rare and difficult to find in the southern Brigalow Belt area of its distribution.
This sluggish snake is incredibly secretive and avoids detection with its cryptic colouration. It will ambush prey by coiling up (as shown in the photo) and remain motionless except for the tip of its tail, which it uses to mimic the movement of a worm, and eventually will lure in its prey, such as a frog or reptile.
Its scarcity is somewhat attributable to having foregone decades of disturbance and significant habitat loss from agriculture, development, and mining industries. As a result, this beautiful elapid (venomous) snake is currently listed as a Vulnerable threatened species in Queensland under the Nature Conservation Act (NCA 1992). The conservation values of the property are protected in-perpetuity through a Nature Refuge Agreement with the Queensland Government, which provides important habitat for species like the Common Death Adder.