Sea Snakes

Sea Snakes From Blane Peruns TheSea.Org
Credit: Marty Snyderman
Sea Snakes are primarily found in the northern seas of Sydney. There are around various species and all are dangerous to humans. Only a handful of attacks cause any kind of significant pain because the snakes are tiny, and just 2-4 mm. long. They do have neurotoxins, but many most bites can’t penetrate a wetsuit. Deaths that have been documented happened among anglers who went into their nests. Sea Snakes spend their early years along the shoreline. As they mature they spend their lives in the open ocean searching for food. They are timid and not usually aggressive unless provoked.

Sea Snakes have specific flattened tails for swimming and valves over their own nostrils which close underwater. They differ from eels in that they don’t possess gill slits and have scales. Due to their have to breathe atmosphere, they are usually present in shallow drinking water where these people swim concerning the bottom giving on seafood, fish ova and eels. Extreme pain isn’t obvious to begin of the Sea Snakes bite; Half an hour after the chew there is tightness, muscle pains and spasm from the jaw then moderate in order to severe discomfort in the impacted limb.

Sea Snakes venom is Neurotoxic classified within the group Proteroglypha as well as sometimes Myotoxins (impacting skeletal muscles) having a fatal dosage being regarding 1.5 milligrams. The majority of Sea Snakes produce typically 10-15 mg associated with venom so they ought to always be approached along with caution because this venom is more deadly than the venom from the land based Rattlesnake or Africa’s lethal Black Mamba. Dead or even decapitated Sea Snakes are able to delivering the bite response strike able to producing a life-threatening envenomation.

Sea Snakes Antivenin is available with regard to snake chew victims or even Tiger Lizard Antivenom may be used as an alternative. A word associated with caution a Sea Snakes bite might sometimes proceed unnoticed because of the small size their fangs. Sea Snakes possess Fixed Entrance Fangs with venom made to immobilize prey and doesn’t produce the actual immediate “sting” as well as excruitiating pain right after the tingle of a Jellyfish, or even encounter using the deadly Blue-Ringed Octopus, the Lionfish, Reef Stonefish (probably the most venomous fish on the planet), Scorpion fish, Sea Urchin, or perhaps a barb strike in the tail of the Stingray.

The chew of the Sea Snakes is actually painless. Nevertheless, half an hour later on the following signs and symptoms appear: tightness, muscle pains and spasm from the jaw, discomfort in the injured limb. The actual powerful neurotoxins included in the venom cause blurry vision, sleepiness and respiratory system paralysis. All Sea Snakes other than the latidcaudids provide birth to reside young following gestation intervals that vary from four in order to eleven several weeks, depending on the varieties. Most varieties reproduce each year. The time of the reproductive system cycle differs enormously between varieties and also varies between physical locations for the similar species.

Beaked Sea Snake

The beaked sea snake, also known as the hook-nosed snake or the common sea snake, is a marine snake and perhaps one of the most venomous of its kind. This snake is implicated in many bites, sometimes accounting for as many as 50 percent of all bites, as well as the cases of envenoming and fatalities.

Known by the scientific name of Enhydrina schistose, this snake belongs to the Enhydrina family of the Elapidae family comprised of venomous snakes in tropical and sub-tropical regions such as cobras, mambas and other sea snakes.

These sea snakes have scales that are longer than wide and come in contact by 4. The rostral scales, or the ones at the front of the head or the nose, are long and these give the snake the beaked appearance. These snakes usually reach 1.2 meters in size.

The toxicity of this snake is among the highest in sea snakes. The venom of the snake contains both neurotoxins and myotoxins. The neurotoxins act by destroying nerve cells or enabling them to transfer ions, thus rendering the prey unable to move. Myotoxins are a form of peptids which act by destroying muscle cells and cause necrosis, leading to paralyzing the prey. It is estimated that just 1.5 milligrams of venom is lethal to humans, with the average yield for each bite ranging from 7.9 to 9 mg. The median lethal dose or LD50 is of 0.1125 mg per kg.

The beaked sea snake can be found from the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf to Madagascar, South Asia seas, as well as Australia and New Guinea. This snake predominantly inhabits the coast and the coastal islands of India alongside 20 other sea snake species that are common in the area.

These snakes have been reported to be aggressive and even “savage”, especially when provoked. This combined with their highly potent venom make this snake responsible for over 50 percent of sea snake attacks as well as for as much as 90 percent of deaths from sea snake bites. These snakes are active both during the day and night. Their special adaptations enable them to dive at depths of over 100 meters where they can spend as much as 5 hours. Among these special adaptations are some special glands that allow the snake to eliminate all the excess salt from the sea water. They feed mainly on fish, which they paralyze using their potent venom. The short teeth of the beaked sea snake is of no more than 4 mm means that it has to use venom all the time to render the prey unable to move, before it can disjoint its jaws and swallow it whole.

Female sea snakes can give birth to up to 30 snakes each time. However, the young face many dangers until they mature, with only a small percentage of them reaching adulthood. Despite their potent venom and aggressiveness, beaked sea snake adults also face many perils from predators such as large fish or crocodiles.

Belcher’s Sea Snake

Belcher’s sea snake is a marine snake species which inhabits tropical waters from the Indian Ocean to the Northern coast of Australia. This snake has been declared as the most venomous snake in the world due to confusion with the beaked sea snake, a confusion which will be clarified in this article. This snake is docile nature and will rarely attack, even in cases of prolonged mistreatment.

The scientific name of the species is Hydrophis belcheri. Firstly described in 1849 by John Edward Gray, the name honors the name of the Royal Navy Captain and Admiral of Nova Scotia Sir Edward Belcher. The snake belongs to the genus Hydrophis, alongside other sea snakes such as the dwarf sea snake. It is a member of the larger Elapidae family which contains venomous snakes that live in the sea as well as on land, including mambas, adders and cobras. Since this snake breathes air but spends hours submerged underwater, the nostrils are covered with special valves that keep water out.

The size of the Belcher’s sea snake is moderate, ranging from 50 centimeters to no more than 1 meter. The body is thin and colors may range from one specimen to another but it is usually chrome yellow with dark green crossbands. The head of the snake is small and short and it has bands similar to those on the rest of its body. The body is compressed laterally with the tail being almost flat. This snake is an excellent swimmer but helpless on land.

Its appearance has made many specialists as well as common people to confuse this snake with the beaked sea snake. Thus, it has been erroneously popularized as the most venomous sea snake it the world. Studies show that the toxicity of this snake is rather low, with studies in mice revealing a median lethal dose of 0.24 mg per kilogram. The lethal dose for humans is 1.5 mg for the entire body and around 0.1125 per kilogram.
The Belcher’s sea snake is also docile and will only become aggressive if severely mistreated or taunted. It has also been proven that, despite it relatively potent venom, even in the rare cases that it bites, it injects venom in less than 25 percent of the cases. Therefore this snake is not to be considered dangerous in reality but should be left alone or handled carefully if needed when encountered.

This species inhabits the Indian Ocean and the coastal waters of Myanmar, Thailand, Australia, Solomon Islands as well as Timor Sea and New Caledonia.

The snake feeds on small fish and shellfish found in relatively shallow waters, mostly near coral reefs. Since it breathes air, it has to resurface from time to time. However, it has been proven that the Belcher’s sea snake can stay for up to 7 or 8 hours in the water before resurfacing, regardless of whether they are hunting or sleeping.

Dwarf Sea Snake

The dwarf sea snake is a marine species which inhabits many of the coastal waters and coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific region. It grows no longer than 74 centimeters in length, and besides being venomous, few reports of envenomous bites have been recorded.

The scientific name of this snake is Hydrophis caerulescens. It belongs to the Hydrophis genus of sea snakes along others such as Belcher’s sea snake. The genus belongs to the Elapidae family which comprises of both Hydrophiinae members or sea snakes as well as land snakes such as the mamba, cobra and adder.

This snake earns its name as the dwarf sea snake due to its small size. Its body is slim and not longer than 74 centimeters in general. Colors may vary from grayish blue on the dorsal side to yellow or whitish on the ventral side. There are often bluish crossbands on the back of the snake which tend to get wider than the spaces between them. These crossbands are usually more pronounced and better defined in young specimens while in older adults they tend to fade. The scales or the back or dorsal scales are typically arranged in 38 to 54 rows. The ventral scales are much smaller in size and are arranged in 253 to 334 rows. The head of this snake is very small. The mouth contains two hollow fangs that are used to inject poison as well as 14 to 18 maxillary teeth which are solid and used to get ahold of the prey.

There are few reports of dwarf sea snake bites and information regarding toxicity is scarce. Judging from many closely related sea snakes in the Hydrophiinae family, it is highly likely that the venom consists of neurotoxins and myotoxins. Neurotoxins can damage nerve cells and dendrites while also preventing the ionizing of the membrane, thus disabling nerve signaling. Myotoxin is composed of protein precursors named peptides which act as enzymes, causing cell death and necrosis within the muscles. This type of toxin is the one responsible for the paralyzing of mostly small prey. Despite few reports regarding bites, the small size of the snake and the miniature fangs people might confuse them with insect stings and not realize they have been envenomed.

The dwarf snake can usually be found in the Indian Ocean, on the coastlines of Pakistan, India, Burma, Indonesia and Malaysia. It also inhabits the warm water of South China Sea as well as Northern Australia and New Caledonia.

This snake is not aggressive towards large animals including humans. The snake usually dives in shallow waters at depths no more than 10 meters. It hunts in the seagrass and muddy bottoms for small fish such as eels as well as mudskippers.

These snakes are ovoviviparous, giving birth to young snakes. Females usually give birth in mid to late summer to 2 to 6 young. The dwarf sea snake can live for 10 years or longer, although adults face many dangers from larger predators.

Olive Sea Snake

The olive sea snake is a marine snake species that is characteristic to the Indo-Pacific region. Also known as the golden sea snake or olive-brown sea snake, the species is usually mild in temperament albeit venomous, feeding on a diverse diet including fish and mollusks.

The scientific name of the species is Aipysurus laevis. It belongs to the genus Aipysurus of the Elapidae genus, a group that comprises of many sea snake species as well as terrestrial venomous snakes such as adders and cobras.

The shape of the olive sea snake is mostly cylindrical, with a flattened tail shapes as a paddle. The tail is used for swimming as the snake hunts exclusively in water. Colors of the scales usually range from olive to brown or even dark yellow. Some specimens have been found to be whitish in color. These snakes can generally grow to be about 1 meters long, but some individuals have been observed with over 2 meters in length.

The exact toxicity of the snake is not known. The composition of the venom most likely contains both neurotoxins and myotoxins. The former acts by enabling signaling between nerve cells while the latter cause muscle cell destruction and necrosis, paralyzing the prey. This snake is generally aggressive towards its prey, but attacks on larger prey or humans is largely unheard of, a fact which accounts for the lack of information regarding venom toxicity.

The is quite common in the Indo-Pacific coastal regions. This snake mostly prefers coral reefs, and it can be found even in the Great Barrier Reef. It prefers to hide inside coral reefs. A special adaptation of this snake is a cell formation in the flattened tail that is apparently responsible for detecting light. The snake uses these sensors to detect light in order to hide itself better and become invisible to many predators that feed on it, mainly sharks and ospreys.

As opposed to many other sea snakes, the olive sea snake doesn’t have a specialized diet. It can feed on fish, fish eggs, mollusks, crustaceans and other animals. Most likely this helps it conserve energy needed for the production of expensive venom, as eating mollusks or fish eggs would not need spending any venom. The venom is used for larger fish, venom which not only paralyzes the prey, but also contains enzymes which actually start the digestive process before the snake swallows it. After the prey stops moving, the snake will use its flexible jaws to swallow the prey head-first.

Male snakes reach maturity after 3 years while females after 4 to 5 years. Courtship usually involves several males and a few female. The fertilization process takes place inside the female, and after a period of about 9 months, it can give birth to 2 to 5 young, in some rare cases even as many as 11 or 12. The olive sea snake can usually live for about 15 years, with some reports showing it can live even longer.

Stokes Sea Snake

Stoke’s sea snake, also known as Astrotia stokesii, is a common sea snake that can be found in the Indo-Pacific waters. This species is one of the heaviest as well as stoutest sea snakes, with an average length of 1.5 meters and some specimens weighing as much as 5 kilograms.

This sea snake is known by its scientific name of Astrotia stokesii. It belongs to the monotypic Astrotia genus which means that it is the only extant member. The species also belongs to the Hydrophiinae subfamily which contains many venomous sea snakes within the lager Elapidae family that comprises of many other marine and terrestrial species of venomous snakes such as the king cobra or the adder. The first published description of the snake was made in the 1846 Discoveries in Australia volume 1 of John Lort Stokes, hence the name.

This snake is one of the heaviest sea snakes in the world. It has a stout body and a girth much larger compared to that of most other snakes, resembling terrestrial venomous snakes more than its marine counterparts. This snake also has the longest fangs of all marine species, and it has been reported that these fangs are long enough to even pierce a wetsuit. On the ventral side, the snake has some enlarged scales which form a keel on the belly as well as two tubercles resembling warts. Colors vary widely when it comes to Stoke’s sea snake, with colors ranging from pure black to cream, white and even with black rings or dorsal cross bands. This snake can grow to 1.5 meters in length, with some specimens being reportedly longer.

This snake can be aggressive towards its prey, and its bite is venomous. Despite its toxic venom and size of fangs, this snake rarely attacks large animals and humans, and there are no known fatalities. As such, the toxicity of this snake is not known.

Stoke’s sea snake can be found in many areas of the Indo-Pacific region, from coastlines and islands near India to Viet Nam, Malaysia, Australia and New Guinea. Many prefer the coral reefs, and as such the Great Barrier Reef abounds in these snakes. The snakes prefer to sit hidden inside coral reefs. However, due to their girth, it is more likely that they also burrow under the sand, as it would be difficult to penetrate thick forests of corals, especially in the Great Barrier Reef.

This snake has a diet mainly consisting of small fish which he hunts near coral reefs. The snakes usually mate just once per season. The snakes are ovoviviparous, meaning that fertilization takes place internally as well as the hatching of the eggs. Thus the female appears to give birth to live snakes. The young are usually no more than 5, with a few exceptions. During the mating season, Stoke’s sea snake specimens can be observed drifting in the thousands in the Strait of Malacca.

Whale in Ocean