The beaked sea snake is a type of sea snake that can grow to be 2-3 feet in length depending on the species. Some of the most common types of beaked sea snakes are the giant beaked sea snake and the dwarf beaked sea snake.
Sea snakes are an informal group of sea snakes that spend most of their time in the water. They are found in marine habitats throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and around the Galapagos Islands.
Sea snakes are not true snakes but are instead eels of the family Mastophoridae. Unlike eels, they have no pelvic fins, but they do have pectoral fins used for swimming.
What is the beaked sea snake?
The beaked sea snake is a marine snake that is found in the warmer waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. The beaked sea snake was first observed in the wild by a Russian naturalist in the 1880s.
It has a slender body and can be up to 3 meters long. It has a rounded head and a flattened tail. It has a distinctive nose and a pair of nostrils and is yellowish-brown in color.
It is found in the warmer waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans and is often observed in the canals and harbors near the shore.
The beaked sea snake is a type of sea snake that can be found in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. There are only two species in the genus Enhydrina, and they are found throughout the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
A sea snake is any snake that lives in the ocean, from the shore to the deep sea. They are usually brown, black, or green. Sea snakes are not venomous.
It is characterized by very large proportions of body length, with adults typically growing to more than 7 meters (23 feet) in length.
It is found in a wide range of habitats, including sandy shores, rocky shores, mangrove swamps, and estuaries.
Water temperatures don’t seem to affect the adult body size of the beaked sea snake, but it can become lethargic or even cause death if the water temperature drops below approximately 20°C (68°F).
These snakes also prey on eels, octopuses, crabs, shrimp, and fish, although the exact types of prey can vary depending on the particular species of sea snake. The range of diet also includes mammals.
So what’s so special about this snake?
It is one of the few species of sea snakes that does not have a beak at the tip of its mouth.
The venom of the beaked sea snake
The snake has a relatively small range but has a well-established range in the Indo-Pacific, from the coast of southern China, Japan, the Ryukyu Islands, northern Australia, and all the way down to New Zealand.
Although this snake is capable of delivering a venom bite off as much as 9,000 milligrams of venom, it is fairly harmless to humans.
To put that in perspective, the average human has a body mass index (BMI) of around 22, which means this sea snake would need to eat 20,000 people to exceed a dose that would prove fatal.
And for that to occur, the snake would have to eat about 1,700 people per day for 40 days straight.
The beaked sea snake is the deadliest sea snake in the world, although it does not have a name that is unique to it.
The most deadly aspect of the venom is a heat-labile neurotoxin
The most deadly aspect of the venom is a heat-labile neurotoxin, or halo-serotonin, a family of toxins that act by interfering with neuromuscular communication at the synapse.
Most sea snakes contain hundreds to thousands of halo-serotonin toxins. Unlike other snakes that can shed poison only through the bite, a single bite from a beaked sea snake can produce lethal levels of halo-serotonin for at least 24 hours.
A bite from an envenomated beaked sea snake causes excruciating pain. As it begins to react to the poison, the bite begins to hurt so much that the victim has to turn away in pain. In worst cases, death results. There is very little that can be done.
Symptoms of a bite from the beaked sea snake
Beaked sea snakes have slender, scaleless bodies with keeled dorsal scales arranged in rows along the midline of the body. They have low-keeled heads and large eyes and deeply grooved, usually curved mouths.
Although not venomous, the beaked sea snake is among the few venomous sea snakes that use its lower jaws to deliver venom into prey. When threatened, this sea snake will strike out, releasing a venom-laden hood into the water.
The hood will stay on the victim and coat his or her gills with venom. The hood is so venomous that most victims of a beaked sea snake bite are not able to reach the surface to breathe until their blood circulation has been blocked.
Preventing a bite from a beaked sea snake
As noted, beaked sea snakes typically are very docile. They will only react aggressively to a perceived threat of any kind and those who handle them should carry anti-venom on their person at all times.
Appropriate steps for handling an envenomated sea snake include:
Identifying the species.
Applying the anti-venom immediately.
Frightening the snake, which triggers flight-or-fight responses that can lead to a bite.
Immediately carrying the envenomated snake outdoors and burying it.
The common sea snake is a highly venomous sea snake species, weighing in at roughly three pounds and growing to over eight feet in length. This sea snake is endemic to the warmer, shallow coastal waters of the Indo-Pacific, ranging from Madagascar to Hawaii.
What to do if you’re bitten by a beaked sea snake
If you are bitten by a beaked sea snake (Enhydrina), the most important steps are to control and reduce pain and swelling in the affected area. If any sort of large visible swelling develops, seek immediate medical attention.
Enhydrina is not responsive to antivenom, and the best course of action is supportive care. With the exception of pain management, no medical treatments are available for bites caused by Enhydrina.
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