A yellow-bellied sea snake that invaded a Southern California beach was probably ill or injured, said a herpetologist, and warmer waters may increase such occurrences.
While the yellow-bellied sea snake's fangs are short and the serpent releases only a small dose of venom if handled, it is highly toxic, according to the Australian Museum
The museum said the venom contains potent neurotoxins and myotoxins than can lead to symptoms of muscle pain and stiffness, drooping eyelids, drowsiness and vomiting, along with possible total paralysis and death.
Anna Iker told ABC News
that her family spotted the snake struggling to get back into the water off near Oxnard, but it didn't make it. Bob Forbes said he saw the dangerous snake as well, adding that it was about two feet long with a yellow streak on its side.
Forbes said he called several agencies about the snake but it died by the time officials from the Natural History Museum came by to examine it.
"I didn't want some young kid not knowing what it was ... pick it up and possibly get injured," said Forbes.
Greg Pauly, a herpetology curator at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, said the snake was probably not well when it was found on shore, noted USA Today
"The species is entirely aquatic," said Pauly. "Seeing a yellow-bellied sea snake wash ashore indicates that the animal is most likely ill or injured."
The sea snake is usually found in warm ocean waters a few miles from shore, but more commonly along drift lines in the open ocean with floating debris where ocean currents converge creating quiet waters, according to CaliforniaHerps.com
The yellow-bellied sea snake is probably the most distributed snake in the world, found usually in the Indian and Pacific Oceans off the coast of Africa, Asia and Australia, along with Baja California and Central America.
ABC News said warmer Pacific Ocean waters because of El Nino will give a greater chance for such snakes to surface.
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