Extinct Snake Resurfaces, Poisonous Snake Travels Far North

by Sankalan Baidya

Extinct snake resurfaces and a poisonous snake travels far north – okay that’s kind of both good and bad news. How so? That’s because something coming back from extinction means that we get to see those creatures alive and thriving. Simply put, we will be luck. Unfortunately, a poisonous snake changing its home can be bad news for the humans of that locality. Both the snakes in question are sea snakes and they are both poisonous breeds. So, people need to watch out for dangers while in the waters.

Extinct Snake Reappears in Australia

The extinct snake in question is Aipysurus apraefrontalis. It is a sea snake with a characteristic short nose. This slithery swimmer was last seen 15 years ago and was later listed as ‘Critically Endangered’. Some people considered it totally extinct because they were not seen for one and a half decade. The last time it was seen was in Timor Sea’s Ashmore Reef off the coast of Australia. Only recently an officer of Western Australian Parks and Wildlife suddenly saw a breeding pair. He was left stunned by the sight and eventually managed to grab his phone and click a few pictures.

Good news is that the extinct snake actually appeared in breeding pair. This means that this extinct snake couple can give birth to babies and gradually the population of this species can increase. The officer saw the two snakes at Ningaloo Reef. The officials reported in Biological Conservation – a journal that they don’t know why the species suddenly disappeared from the Ashmore Reef and what made them reappear in Ningaloo Reef.

Whatever the cause be for the reappearance of this extinct snake, it will simply mean that something favorable has happened for the snakes and we can see more of their kind in the waters off the Australian coast in years to come, unless of course, they suddenly disappear again. It is very important for the people to stay alert and vigil because the snake in question is poisonous and can be deadly.

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Poisonous Snake Travels Far North to California

People of Southern California are not very excited like the Australians. Their home has been invaded by a poisonous sea snake whose species is known by the name Pelamis platura. This is a highly poisonous snake that has a characteristic yellow belly. It is known to live in warmer sea waters. However, in last two months, two of these snakes have washed up the Bolsa Chica State Beach shore in southern California’s Orange County.

Poisonous Snake Travels Far North

Though the officials are saying that these yellow-bellied snakes should not be a big concern because they are very rare to the north of Baja California, Mexico, it is actually a big concern. Despite the fact that only 5 of these snakes have made it to southern California till date with two in last two months and previous recorded sighting back in 1972, it is really important to understand what is making them coming to the colder waters of California.

Some are actually pointing this event to the current El Nino that has warmed up the waters of California beach. The rise in temperature of the waters is enough to provide a shelter for the sea snakes that live in warmer waters elsewhere in the sea. This is a clear indication that climatic changes can lead to change in habitats of both sea and land creatures. This definitely is not good news because most of the climatic changes we experience today are caused directly or indirectly by human activities. Changing weather patterns can dramatically alter our surroundings and threaten our very existence.

The problem with this yellow-bellied snake is that its poison is very potent. One bite can lead to kidney damage, neuromuscular paralysis and muscle destruction. Though anti-venom for Pelamis platura venom is present, the rarity of the snake in southern California also means that the supply of the anti-venom is also very scarce. This should be of particular concern for swimmers of southern California. If two snakes have made it to far north in two months, it is very logical to think that their migration can increase over time and if that happens, the threat increases too!

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