Monday, June 13, 2011

Yellow-bellied Sea Snake

Today I was walking along the beach nearby to the location of the petrified wood and came across a Yellow-bellied Sea snake. The snake was washed ashore during our stormy conditions. Yellow-Bellied sea snakes (Pelamis platurus) have a potentially fatal bite. They occur from the north coast of Australia from Perth to Wollongong and the east coast of Africa to the west coast of America. Odd individuals pop up in other locations. Status for the snake is secure however, I was not sure how they go out of water so I picked up the biggest stick I could find to send it back to sea. The adrenaline was pumping as I picked it up. Over ten years ago I did a snake handling course. Proved to myself that maybe snakes and I don't mix. The tiger snake tried to bite the net I was putting it into. Strangely enough the instructor quickly gave up playing with this snake, I'm sure it could sense my fear. It is an amazing feeling to pick up a snake, they are so cold and hard yet likely to twist and turn without much notice. 

Alas the yellow-bellied sea snake had no intention of returning to sea today. I watched it move around in the waves only to come back to shore. I watched for a while and warned a lady walking along with her three dogs. Two young guys walking along barefoot also tried to send the snake out to sea with no success. Turns out there is a growth on its side when you look closely at the photo. The tail looks amazing with the yellow colouring covered in dark blotches. In the field I would of described the snake as black in colouring. Turns out the yellow belly becomes duller in winter. Closer inspection of the photo shows the yellow colour. Hopefully the snake finds it way back to the sea tonight.

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