Lifeguards at Australia’s One Mile Beach alerted swimmers to danger on Tuesday, as a venomous brown snake emerged from the surf, causing panicked beachgoers to flee.
At the signal, swimmers and surfers alike rushed to the shoreline of the New South Wales beach, hoping to spot a shark, which they believed was behind the alarm. As Grind TV notes, however, they were startled when an eastern brown snake, nearly five-feet-long, swam ashore, prompting them to scatter in fear.
Brown snakes are among the world’s most deadly serpents, possessing a powerful venom. The majority of snakebite deaths in Australia are attributed to brown snakes, which can grow to seven feet and are notoriously bad tempered. As the Guardian notes, however, brown snakes normally only strike out when threatened.
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Beachgoer Olivia Moffatt photographed the brown snake after it exited the surf, detailing her experience to the Great Lakes Advocate.
“The snake traveled out of the water and remained on the shore for a while until waves washed up against it,” she recalled. “Raising its head, it headed for shade towards the lifeguard trailer and happily sat there until again moving up along the beach to the bush. On the way, as we were leaving, the snake began heading back down towards the sea at a quicker pace, but was not in the ocean as we left.”
Stuart Kozlowski, a reptile keeper at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, noted that it was highly unusual to see a snake in salt water. While brown snakes commonly live near beaches, he pointed out that they are most often found underground in sand dunes.
“I think it was maybe cooling off or perhaps it was frightened and made a beeline for the water. Some snakes adapt to their environment so it may be a regular thing for this snake,” he said.
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Last week, a white cobra that was captured in Southern California over the summer received a new name, as web users voted to call it Adhira. As the Inquisitr previously noted, the deadly snake was found in the Thousand Oaks area, and now resides at the San Diego Zoo, one of the few facilities possessing the proper anti-venom for the species.
Kozlowski also asserted that beach-goers acted properly in fleeing the brown snake, an animal he said was handled with utmost care at Taronga Zoo.
“You’d definitely want to give it a wide berth,” he said. “Snakes don’t attack people, they defend themselves against a threat. But saying that, brown snakes can be quite territorial, so it’s best if you move away from it.”
[Image via Twitter/ Great lakes Advocate]