South Africa: Venomous Sea Snakes Suffering From 'Cold Shock' Wash Up On SA Beaches

Rare venomous yellow-bellied sea snakes have been washing up on Eastern Cape and Garden Route beaches, prompting marine experts to caution against touching these deadly creatures and advising to contact aquariums for assistance.

In the past year, six venomous yellow-bellied sea snakes have washed up on beaches in the Eastern Cape and along the Garden Route.

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.

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

But, he added, strong sea currents and bad weather sometimes push these snakes into cold currents where they sustain "cold shock" and are not able to swim further.

"I only know of a handful that have washed up in the last few years. I was lucky to rescue one. They don't do well in captivity so I have released it again," Glasby said. "If you see one you are very lucky. It is a rare event."

If anybody spots a sea snake on the beach, it should be treated with respect and it is best to notify the nearest aquarium. Glasby said neither humans nor dogs should approach it.

"It would be...

AllAfrica publishes around 500 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.