Yellow-bellied sea snake found on uMhlanga beach showing signs of recovery
Durban - The South African Association for Marine Biological Research (Saambr) is hopeful the yellow-bellied sea snake that was found at uMhlanga beach over the weekend will make a full recovery.
The snake had spent the last few days in the care of Saambr herpetologists and was showing signs of what they hoped would be a full recovery.
Upon discovery on the beach, the snake was very weak and barely able to move.
Saambr said that type of snake was highly venomous and it rarely came into contact with people because they spent their lives drifting on the surface of the water in the pelagic zone. However, they did strand on KZN beaches after exceptionally large swells or strong currents which bring them to shore.
Yellow-bellied sea snakes were ovoviviparous, producing up to six live neonates which are independent from birth. They are able to hold their breath for up to three hours when hunting for fish, but have to wait until it rains to drink because they drink fresh water from raindrops.
Saambr senior herpetologist Carl Schloms said although he believed that Saambr had once cared for a yellow-bellied sea snake at the old Sea World many years ago, it was the first time they had cared for a yellow-bellied sea snake at uShaka Sea World.
“It is a great privilege to be able to observe and care for such a rare visitor. He is an incredibly beautiful snake, measuring approximately 60cm, with a yellow underbelly, a black top and a black and white paddle tail. Today while I was observing him for the umpteenth time, I saw him swimming backwards which is something I have only ever read about,” said Schloms.