Saturday, January 09, 2016

Yellow-bellied Sea Snakes Wash up on Southern California Beach

A venomous sea snake washed up on a Southern California beach recently, striking fear in the hearts of beachgoers but eliciting excitement from the scientists who study these marine reptiles.

The stranded snake, which was dead when it was discovered on Dec. 12, was a yellow-bellied sea snake (Pelamis platura), the most widespread marine snake in the world. But despite its wide range of habitats, this snake isn't usually observed in the waters off the coast of Southern California, as it tends to keep to the warmer waters just south of that coastline, closer to Baja California, Mexico. Yet, in 2015, two of these critters washed up on California beaches, leading many to wonder why the snake is venturing outside its normal habitat.

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