In rare sightings, venomous sea snakes seen on California beaches
By Jaxon Van Derbeken Updated 9:31 pm, Friday, October 16, 2015
Everyone has high hopes that an El Niño will bring drought-plagued California some welcome relief. But one sign of the global event is an unwelcoming yellow-bellied intruder: the yellow-bellied sea snake to be exact.
Heal The Bay, a Southern California environmental group, is sounding the alarm about the highly toxic ocean traveler being twice found late this week on the Silver Strand, a beach in Oxnard — the first sightings in 30 years.
With what the group calls “some of the most poisonous venom in the world,” the exotic species is descended from Asian cobras and tiger snakes from Australia and can stay on land for more than an hour.
It normally thrives in warm tropical waters and last showed up here in the early 80s during an earlier ocean warming cycle. Scientists hope anyone who spots one now will report the sighting.
But don’t come within striking distance, just take a photo and jot down the specifics, said the nonprofit’s senior coastal policy manager, Dana Murray, and report any findings in the state to iNaturalist and Herp Mapper.
Here is the official warning from Heal the Bay:
"Recent sightings of the yellow-bellied sea snake have been reported and scientists need your help to confirm this very rare occurrence.
This species is highly venomous; do not attempt to handle or interact with the snake if you see one. Do take as many photos as possible. Do try and get accurate location information.
Your data will be used to confirm this El Nino year as the first in 30 years this fascinating animal has been in our water."