Venomous Sea Snake Spotted In California

A venomous sea snake has slithered to shore in California. The deadly snake, perhaps more than one, has been spotted in the Malibu Beach area. The yellow-bellied sea snake most commonly spends its entire life in the water. Some blame climate change for the appearance of the potentially killer reptile in the Los Angeles beach area.

The yellow-bellied sea snake has now been spotted twice in the Oxnard, California, area, just north of the extremely popular Malibu Beach destination spot, MSN reports. Rising temperatures in the ocean due to the evolving El Niño weather cycle may be affecting the Pacific Ocean and driving the venomous sea snakes onto dry land.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Heal the Bay, an environmental group, revealed the sea snake has not been spotted in the state since a 1980 El Niño rolled through. After the environmental group posted details and photos about the venomous snake on its Facebook page, more sightings of the reptile were shared by local residents, USA Today reports.

Heal the Bay activists have cautioned people not to interact with the sea snake if they happen upon one of the reptiles. California residents are encouraged to take a photo of the sea snake from a safe distance and then immediately report the location to the iNaturalist and HerpMapper websites.

Pelamis platura is the scientific name of the venomous sea snake that typically inhabits warm waters. It is not currently known if the two confirmed snake spottings were sightings of the same or different reptiles. The species is entirely aquatic. A yellow-bellied sea snake washing ashore generally indicates that the animal is most likely injured or ill, according to Greg Pauly, the herpetology curator at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials captured the venomous sea snake from the second spotting. The reptile died not long after being transported to the agency’s nearby office.

The deadly reptile is a species of sea snake most often found in tropical oceanic waters, excluding the Atlantic Ocean. The yellow-bellied sea snake is the only member of the genus Pelamis and is also known as the pelagic sea snake.

The body of the sea snake is compressed with juxtaposed scales that are subquadrangular in shape. The scales commonly form into 23 to 47 rows around the thickest part of the body of the venomous snake. The yellow-bellied sea snake’s ventral scales number between 264 to 406. The scales are reportedly distinct in color, design, and small in size. The scales are divided by a longitudinal groove.

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The deadly snake also boasts an elongated snout. Although the color of the snake varies, they also can have a bicolor black and yellow or brown and yellow pattern. This variety of male sea snakes often measures up to 28 inches long. Female snakes typically reach lengths of 35 inches long.

The sea snake breeds in warm waters, is ovoviviparous, and has a gestation period of about six months. Females of the species typically give birth to live snakes in shallow tidal pools, according to Wikipedia.

They venomous sea snakes are thought to be helpless when on land. The snakes often aggregate by the thousands on surface waters. They use their neurotoxic venom to kill small fish as their prey. Yellow-bellied sea snake reportedly meet their dietary needs entirely from the ocean waters. They avoid dehydration by storing fresh water on the surface of the watery home during the rainy season.

[Image via Shutterstock.com]