Death Adders

Death Adder Project logo

Mission Statement

Progressing our understanding of Australian Death Adders.

©UntamedScience Death Adder Project film

©UntamedScience Death Adder Project film!!

About the Project

This PhD project is run by Christina N. Zdenek at The University of Queensland. The Project aims to increase our limited understanding of Death Adders via field and lab studies. Our hope is to reduce the human/pet-wildlife conflicts regarding Death Adders and to better manage crashing, vulnerable populations. The project’s study sites to date are Weipa (Cape York) and Magnetic Island (QLD)  and hopefully Avoid Island (near Mackay) in the future. We are currently trying to win grants and raise funds to radio-track the Death Adders on Magnetic Island so that we can know where they are in time and place, how large their home-ranges are, and where their over-wintering sites are.

Follow our work on #DeathAdderProject on Twitter!

Project Aims

  • Determine which species of Death Adder(s) occur in newly sampled areas and on the border of their geographical range.
  • Determine what climatic variables predict the movement patterns of Death Adders in the landscape
  • Determine the fine-scale ecological factors that predict the occurrence of Death Adders in the landscape.
  • Determine the ‘over-wintering’ sites near the urban-bush edge
  • Minimise the human-wildlife conflict with regards to this species.

Project Justification and Outcomes

Firstly, National Parks rangers will be able to implement well-informed management strategies regarding the high encounter rates (with people and their pets) in time and place regarding Death Adders on Magnetic Island.

Secondly, the recent (2015) discovery of a new species of Death Adder (Acanthophis cryptomydros) indicates that there may be other new species awaiting discovery in this genus. Given the elevated conservation status (Vulnerable) of one species of Death Adder (Acanthophis antarcticus), it is important for rangers and ecologists to know which species occur on islands so that management and land-development applications can be curtailed accordingly.

Finally, microhabitat preference findings will help predict presence and also help to understand why Death Adders are absent or have declined in other areas on the mainland.

CNZ and L. Dibben proudly pose by their Death Adder finding. Weipa, QLD, Australia. Photo by: Chad Pumpa

The Death Adder Project crew on Magnetic Island, where we collected 144 historical sightings records of Death Adders over the years from the rangers and residents. Photo by: S. Huddy.


The Death Adder Project collaborates with the Magnetic Island National Park crew to better understand Death Adders on the island and how people (and their pets) can more harmoniously live alongside them. Photo by: CNZdenek



Magnetic Island Community Newspaper featured our work. January 2017.

Magnetic Island is full of boulders! Photo by: A.Cook


Community engagement and snake education at the Sunday markets on Magnetic Island with the #DeathAdderProject! Photo by: CNZdenek