After another rare sea serpent washes ashore along California’s coast near Los Angeles, beachgoers are reminded that the rare sea serpent, specifically known as yellow-bellied sea snake, can be deadly. Sea snake venom can cause severe neuromuscular damage or kidney damage.
When a Huntington Beach Surfrider Foundation volunteer came across the exotic reptile during a beach cleanup at Bolsa Chica State Beach, south of Los Angeles, neither the volunteer nor anyone else in the group knew about the potential danger of the yellow-bellied sea snake, according to a December 19 KTLA report.
“Tony Soriano, the foundation’s chairman, said the 275 volunteers who had showed up for the beach cleanup initially did not realize what species the snake was, or that it was even venomous.”
After doing some research on the internet, Soriano’s son was able to identify the rare sea serpent that had washed ashore at Bolsa Chica State Beach. When the curator of the Museum of Natural History learned about the yellow-bellied sea snake, he visited the Soriano family and examined the creature – or at least what was left of it.
Living in Southern California means living with snakes, and most residents are aware that any kind of snake, even if dead, can still be dangerous. A rattlesnake’s head can bite even after being detached from its body and even after being buried. Firefighters advise to burn a rattlesnake’s head in order to eliminate all danger.
Since the sea serpent that had washed ashore at Bolsa Chica State Beach was such a rare find, Sorentino’s son didn’t burn the yellow-bellied sea snake’s head but “kept the dead snake in a Ziploc bag in his refrigerator.”
According to Heal the Bay, “Scientists are calling for the public’s help to confirm occurrences of these sea snakes in California and your sighting could be published in scientific journals. A recent sighting took place in the Silver Strand beach area in Oxnard. As the yellow-bellied sea snake is highly venomous, the public should not handle it. Instead, take photos, note the exact location, and report any sightings in California to iNaturalist and Herp Mapper.”
Yellow-bellied sea snakes are usually home to tropical waters and their rare appearances in southern California are reflecting the much warmer ocean waters that are part of an El Niño year. After a rare sea serpent washes ashore for the second time in two months near Los Angeles, scientists do want the public to be aware of the snake’s potential danger and how to deal with such a rare find.