Lowland copperhead

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Lowland copperhead
Austrelaps superbus - Reptile Park.jpg
lowland copperhead at the Australian Reptile Park, Gosford, New South Wales
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Elapidae
Genus: Austrelaps
Species: A. superbus
Binomial name
Austrelaps superbus
(Günther, 1858)

Hoplocephalus superbus Günther, 1858
Denisonia superbaBoulenger, 1896

The lowland copperhead or lowlands copperhead (Austrelaps superbus) is a venomous snake species in the family Elapidae. It is commonly referred to as the copperhead, but is not closely related to the American copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix. If provoked, the lowland copperhead is a dangerous snake with neurotoxic venom, which can kill an adult human if correct first aid is not applied promptly.[1][2]


The lowland copperhead is generally 1-1.5 m (3–4½ feet) long.[3] Their colour varies a great deal, from a coppery mid-brown to yellowish, reddish, grey or black. The copper head colouring that gave rise to the common name is not always present. Its venom has been measured at 0.5 mg/kg subcutaneous.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It is found in southeastern Australia, including Tasmania. A. superbus has a preference for areas of low vegetation near water bodies where it hunts for frogs, lizards and snakes including smaller snakes of its own species,[3] but has been found in sandstone ridgetop woodland around Sydney although such habitat is also usually near water bodies[4]


The Venom of lowland copperhead contains postsynaptic neurotoxins. There have been a dozen reported bites from this species and one fatality.[5]


  1. ^ TPWS: Wildlife of Tasmania – Lowland Copperhead. Parks.tas.gov.au (2008-07-11). Retrieved on 2013-01-03.
  2. ^ Cogger, H.G. (1979). Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed: Sydney. ISBN 0-589-50108-9
  3. ^ a b Parks & Wildlife Service – Lowland copperhead, Austrelaps superbus. Parks.tas.gov.au (2008-07-11). Retrieved on 2013-01-03.
  4. ^ Hawkeswood T. J., Turner J.R. (2008) A record of Austrelaps superbus (Günther, 1858)(Reptilia: Elapidae) from Leura, Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia with a description of its habitat, Calodema Supplementary Paper No. 90 (2008)
  5. ^ Venomous Snakes of the World by Mark O'Shea, Page number 120