Rare sea snakes sighted in U.S. and Australia

Dec 21, 2015, 4:14 PM EST
Yello-bellied sea snake. Source: NOAA Photo Library/flickr
Yello-bellied sea snake. Source: NOAA Photo Library/flickr
A rare, venomous sea snake washed up dead on a California beach, making this the second appearance of the yellow-bellied sea snake on the state’s shores. The initial sighting of the snake occurred on Siverstrand beach in Oxnard, CA in October. This second sighting was on Bolsa Chica State Beach 30 miles south of Los Angeles.
 
In Australia, two live short-nosed sea snakes — which haven’t been seen in 15 years — were seen swimming off the coast of the Ningaloo Reef. The Washington Post reports:
 
Researchers published the discovery of living Aipysurus apraefrontalis snakes, along with another thought-to-be-extinct snake species, in the journal Biological Conservation on Monday.
 
"We were blown away, these potentially extinct snakes were there in plain sight, living on one of Australia's natural icons, Ningaloo Reef," study lead author Blanche D'Anastasi said in a release.
 
ABC News commented on the California sea snake sighting:
 
The environmental group said the snake may have washed up on the shore due to warmer waters related to the El Nino weather event.
 
"They can swim backward and forward and can stay underwater for up to three hours," the group wrote on YouTube. "There is belief that the El Niño temperature change could have enticed the creature to swim north in search of small fish and eels, which they use their venom to paralyze."
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