A 20-inch long rare venomous sea snake with yellow-belly has washed up in a Southern California beach, hundreds of miles away from its habitat. This is the third time in recent months venomous snakes appearing in the Californian sea shores.
According to a statement by Coronado city officials, this 20-inch long venomous snake was found about 2.30 p.m. at Dog Beach in Coronado this Tuesday. A passerby saw this dying snake and alerted nearby lifeguards, who immediately put the snake into a bucket of water which was unable to save its life.
These kind of snakes doesn’t come to sea shores as they live in tropical waters far away from the beaches. Scientists believe that the change in weather could have forced these marine species to move out of its natural habitat towards Californian beaches.
Earlier in December, a 27-inch long yellow-bellied rare snake was found dead in Huntington Beach, while a 2-feet long snake found dead in Ventura County beach in California in October.
When the first yellow-bellied venomous snake washed up on a Californian beach in last October, Paul Barber, UCLA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, said in a statement to the Huffington Post:
“Because the water is so warm here now, these snakes can swim, hunt and reproduce just like they could in the northern part of their tropical range. Simply put, they are here because the warmer El Niño conditions have expanded the range of suitable environmental conditions for this snake.”
Generally, these typical black and yellow venomous marine species with a broad, paddle-like tail found in the Pacific and Indian ocean’s warm waters and not much of the risks due to its far habitat. According to the University of Hawaii’s Waikiki Aquarium, these snakes can grow to the length of a baseball bat and are potentially venomous to humans. The venom of these snakes has a potent neurotoxin which could stop the communication between muscles and nerve cells, and a single bite can cause nerve, heart or respiratory failure.
“Their fangs are tiny and they can barely open their mouths wide enough to bite a person,” said Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County herpetological curator Greg Pauly. “So, unless you pick one up, the biggest safety concern with going to the beach is with driving there and then driving home.”
If you think only rare snakes come out of their natural habitats to the sea shores, you are wrong. There were many surprising incidents where other rare marine species washed up to the shores around the world. In July 2015, a sub-Antarctic fur seal (sea lion) was discovered alive on Kenya’s coast. In the same month, a rare 7-feet Florida manatee was discovered in Delaware canal. In 2010, a lone gray whale, which never crosses the Pacific Ocean boundary, was spotted off the Mediterranean coast of Israel.
According to the Coronado city officials, the snake found Tuesday will be turned over to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.