Brrr! Venomous sea snakes wash up on SA shores with 'cold shock'

Brrr! Venomous sea snakes wash up on SA shores with 'cold shock'

This cold snap brings a slithery creature to South African shores...

Sea snake yellow belly
Sea snake yellow belly / canva

It's a chilling experience for most when encountering a snake, more so when the snake can swim too! With the effects of climate change being felt around the world, it leaves an opening for unique phenomenons. Although we may not love them, sea snakes are essential to our ecosystem. 

Recently, there has been a surge of rare venomous yellow-bellied sea snakes washing up on Eastern Cape and Garden Route beaches. This concerning spike has prompted marine experts to caution against touching these deadly creatures and advising to contact aquariums for assistance.

Brett Glasby, the marine wildlife programme management coordinator for the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation, said seeing these snakes is rare and he has never spotted one himself, except when he was called out to help where one was found. (Daily Maverick)

Read More: KZN shares their serious snake encounters

Glasby shares that, “it is not a common thing for them to wash up. They like warm water and we find them in the Agulhas current mostly."

@sunnycoastsnakecatchers Spectacular Sea Snake Washes Up! It is not every day that a Yellow-bellied Sea Snake washes up! Unfortunately today the rough weather caused him to become beached, usually this occurs when the snakes are unwell and in need of treatment! The Sea Snake was taken straight to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital for a check up and hopefully will be able to be released soon! Whenever you see a Sea Snake washed up, please call your local snake catcher or wildlife rescue group. #reptiles #animal #wildlife #sunshinecoast #qld #snake #snakes ♬ original sound - Stuart McKenzie

It is apparent that one of the reasons these animals make it to shore is due to cold shock. 

What is cold shock and how is it treated? 

The warm waters is where these snakes usually thrive. A combination of strong sea currents and bad weather push these snakes into cold currents where they experience “cold shock” and are unable to swim further. One of the worst things you can do is put the snake back in the water if you come across one. "You will sign its death warrant if you put it back in the water,” Glasby says.

The best thing you can do if you come across one of these snakes is alert an aquarium. There, the trained staff will warm it up very slowly over a few days to treat the cold shock.

Read More: KZN shares their serious snake encounters

While encounters with snakes can be daunting, it's important to note they play an indispensable role in our world. It is essential that we maintain the balance of our ecosystems.



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