New Species of Australian Snake Discovered – The Kimberley Death Adder

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Australia is renowned for its unique fauna. Kangaroos, koalas, and wombats as well as many others interesting and cute animals are iconic examples of the wildlife who call Australia home. On the other side of the coin, Australia has also gathered a reputation for its many infamous and potentially dangerous creatures. A good example of this being the variety of snakes who also reside here. Take a look at our story about about the 1.7 metre python in Chapel Hill in Brisbane to get an understanding of why people are so afraid of these majestic creatures.

It is believed that there are 142 species of land snakes living in Australia and 32 species of sea snakes who live in the water. Only about 100 of these species of snakes are venomous, and only 11 or 12 of them could kill a person with their venom. Several Australian snakes are currently believed to be among the most poisonous in the world. As time goes by, more snake species are being discovered by scientists adding to the number of species that already exist, and spring is one of their favourite seasons.

the head of the Kimberley death adder
The highly venomous Kimberley Death Adder

Just recently, scientists in Australia discovered a new species of snakes in the Kimberley region, which is located in the northern region of Western Australia. According to scientists, the new species belong to the Acanthophis family, more commonly referred to as the Australian death adders. The Acanthophis are known to be very highly venomous, and they are found throughout Australia, in New Guinea, and several islands surrounding New Guinea.

The Acanthophis is known to be a brave snake. It will rarely leave its hiding place, whether you decide to place your foot next to it or even throw thing at it. It can bite and kill a human in only a few minutes. These snakes are like vipers. They are not big in size but they are a force to be reckoned with. The can usually be found camouflaged in sand, hiding in leaf litter or slithering in gravel. This makes them very dangerous and unpredictable. These snakes are mostly nocturnal and with a singe bite containing 40-100mg of highly toxic venom, they can attack and kill very swiftly.

The newly discovered Kimberly Death Adder has a diamond shaped head, and it is estimated to grow to around 24 inches (60 centimeters) long. These snakes are patient predators and will sit and wait camouflaged beneath their surrounding until passing frogs, lizards, or other suitable prey come past.

According to Simon Maddock, of University College in London, the Kimberley Death Adder are not a genetic relative of the other snake species they most closely resembles. Maddock together with other co-authors identified the new species when they were researching the genetics and the ecological features of snakes that are found in Kimberley region of Australia.

Currently, it is not known how man Kimberly Death Adders inhabit north-western Australia, but they are believed to be fairly rare. Scientist do believe however, that like this adder, there are far many other undiscovered species of snake in this sparsely populated part of the country.

Recent, there have been several new species of frogs, lizards and plants found in the region, with the Kimberly Death Adder the latest addition to that list.

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