1-13-2016 Update – Another Snake: Venomous Yellow-Bellied Sea Snakes Found South Of LA & Near Silver Strand

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1/13/2016: Fox San Diego reports that according to lifeguards, another potentially dangerous sea snake washed up on the shore of Coronado’s North Beach Tuesday afternoon.

sea snake

A picture of the 20-inch-long snake pelamis platura, a black and yellow snake, was taken by Coronado lifeguards around 2:30 p.m. It was seen near one of their lifeguard towers.

Next time you are going surfing, for a swim or just playing in the ocean, you might keep an eye out for an unwelcomed visitor.

Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake

A dead Yellow-bellied Sea Snake that was recently found on a California beach.
IMAGE: SURFRIDERS/FACEBOOK

An extremely venomous Yellow-bellied Sea Snake was found on Bolsa Chica State Beach (30 miles south of Los Angeles) on December 12, 2015. A member of the environmental group the Surfrider Foundation discovered the dead, 27-inch-long snake.

Other sightings of this deadly species of sea snake, not normally found off the California coast, occurred in October at Silver Strand State Beach, when a live, 2-foot-long snake made its way onto the beach there. That snake died soon after while in the care of federal wildlife officials.

Fox5 had a report on this  “A highly venomous sea snake was spotted in Ventura County on Thursday evening. “It looked lethargic when I approached,” Bob Forbes told CNN. “I touched it lightly and it started to move.” Fearing that children might come across the aquatic snake, Forbes placed it inside a five-gallon bucket with some ocean water and alerted local wildlife experts. The discovery is a rare Southern California record, according to Greg Pauly, curator of herpetology of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.“It was the northernmost sea snake ever documented in the Pacific Coast of North America,” he said. Although venomous, Pauly said yellow-bellied sea snakes are generally harmless when left alone. Bites to humans are rare and normally occur when people try to handle the snakes.”

The discovery is a rare Southern California record, according to Greg Pauly, curator of herpetology of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.“It was the northernmost sea snake ever documented in the Pacific Coast of North America,” he said. Although venomous, Pauly said yellow-bellied sea snakes are generally harmless when left alone. Bites to humans are rare and normally occur when people try to handle the snakes.”

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The discovery is a rare Southern California record, according to Greg Pauly, curator of herpetology of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.“It was the northernmost sea snake ever documented in the Pacific Coast of North America,” he said. Although venomous, Pauly said yellow-bellied sea snakes are generally harmless when left alone. Bites to humans are rare and normally occur when people try to handle the snakes.”

CNN  also had a report on the Ventura County sea snake.

KTLA Venomous Sea Snake California

Media reports are pointing to El Niño as the likely reason why these snakes have been spotted so far from their typical home. During El Niño events, sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean are milder-than-average, and typical trade winds and ocean currents can become more variable, or even reverse their direction.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the species was first observed in California in 1972, which was also an El Niño year.

While these snakes are highly venomous, they have tiny mouths, making it relatively difficult (though not impossible) for them to deliver a lethal dose of venom to people if anyone should be unlucky enough to encounter a live snake on a California beach.

Greg Pauly, assistant curator of herpetology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, told ABC News  that people should keep their distance from these snakes.

Pauly also pointed to El Niño as a likely factor increasing the abundance of these snakes near California.

Swim safely…