Big Pregnant Death Adder Found in Family Backyard: ‘Don’t Bite Me’

An “extremely cranky” pregnant death adder has been found lurking in a family backyard in Australia.

A snake removal specialist from Australian Snake Catchers arrived at the home in Kurrajong, New South Wales, to find the venomous snake hunched up on some grass.

Death adders are one of the most venomous land snakes in Australia. They are also the fastest striking snake on the planet. It can strike and bite a victim in less than 0.15 seconds.

The snake season in Australia is currently in full swing, meaning snakes are becoming more active in the warmer, summer months. But this species is still not often encountered.

Death adder in backyard
A photo shows a death adder lurking in a backyard in Australia. A snake catcher removing the snake believed it may be pregnant.
Australian Snake Catchers

“This particular species is an ambush predator, so not often encountered as much as other Elapids,” the snake catcher told Newsweek.

The family that owns the house would have “liked it visiting elsewhere,” the snake catcher wrote in a Facebook post.

“He or she is pretty cranky. Extremely cranky. But a cool snake,” the snake catcher says, in a video posted to Facebook.

In the video, the catcher attempts to get close up shots of the snake without being bitten.

“Don’t bite me,” the snake catcher says as he zooms in on the snake.

The snake catcher says this particular snake might be a gravid female, meaning she is pregnant and carrying eggs.

“You can see that she’s a bit chubby,” the snake catcher says in the video.

Breeding season for Australian snakes usually starts in October. They are usually pregnant for around three months before giving birth.

“I don’t want to get too close because this thing will just wack me. It’s gonna wreck my week,” the snake catcher says in the video.

When removing this particular serpent, snake catchers take care not to touch it. The snake catcher removed the reptile by ushering it into a bag. After removing snakes from properties, snake catchers release them back into the wild.

Death adders possess a venom full of post-synaptic neurotoxins which can lead to death from suffocation and lack of oxygen. Bites can also cause paralysis within minutes.

But, despite its name, this species is shy and very reluctant to bite humans. Like most snakes, they do not strike unless they feel provoked or threatened. Bites and subsequent antivenom treatment for the species remain very rare.

There is antivenom treatment available for death adder bites in Australia but it is “a 50/50 situation,” the snake catcher said in a Facebook comment.

Do you have an animal or nature story to share with Newsweek? Do you have a question about snakes? Let us know via nature@newsweek.com.

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