Tags: rare | sea serpent | california

Rare Sea Serpent Washes Ashore on Another California Beach

Image: Rare Sea Serpent Washes Ashore on Another California Beach
Yellow-bellied sea snake. (Tumblr)

By    |   Monday, 21 Dec 2015 07:37 AM

A rare venomous sea serpent washed ashore in California, the third ever sighting of the tropical snake in the state and the second this year.

The yellow-bellied sea snakes are usually found in the middle of the ocean near debris where they feed on small fish, said the Orange County Register.

Greg Pauly, herpetology curator with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, said the new sighting at Huntington Beach came during the El Nino season.

"One (sighting) in a year is incredible," said Pauly. "Two in a year is just mind-blowing. I’m just completely shocked."

A yellow-bellied sea snake was found washed ashore at Silver Strand Beach in Oxnard in October, the farthest north the creature had ever been located. In 1972, one was found at San Clemente State Beach.

KTLA-TV said when volunteers found the two snakes this year, the serpents were already dead. Officials said was not clear if the snakes were dead when they initially washed on shore.

"The yellow-bellied sea snake has some of the most poisonous venom in the world, and is a descendant from Asian cobras and Australian tiger snakes," said the environmental blog Heal the Bay. "This sea snake is a harbinger of El Niño – it typically lives in warm tropical waters.

"Scientists are calling for the public's help to confirm occurrences of these sea snakes in California and your sighting could be published in scientific journals. … As the yellow-bellied sea snake is highly venomous, the public should not handle it."

The Los Angeles Times said the yellow bellied sea snake can be spotted by its bright yellow underside and a flat tail with black spots. The snake normally swims the tropical waters off the coasts of Africa, Asia, Australia, Central America and Mexico, and Baja California.

"Their fangs are tiny and they can barely open their mouths wide enough to bite a person," Pauly told the Times. "So, unless you pick one up, the biggest safety concern with going to the beach is with driving there and then driving home."


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A rare venomous sea serpent washed ashore in California, the third ever sighting of the tropical snake in the state and the second this year.
rare, sea serpent, california
362
2015-37-21
Monday, 21 Dec 2015 07:37 AM
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