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Wilderness and Outdoor Survival Guide

Poisonous Snakes and Lizards: Poisonous Sea Snakes

Banded sea snake
Laticauda colubrina

Description: Smooth-scaled snake that is a pale shade of blue with black bands. Its oarlike tail provides propulsion in swimming.

Characteristics: Most active at night, swimming close to shore and at times entering tide pools. Its venom is a very strong neurotoxin. Its victims are usually fishermen who untangle these deadly snakes from large fish nets.

Habitat: Common in all oceans, absent in the Atlantic Ocean.

Length: Average 75 centimeters, maximum 1.2 meters.

Distribution: Coastal waters of New Guinea, Pacific islands, the Philippines, Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, and Japan.



Yellow-bellied sea snake
Pelamis platurus

Description: Upper part of body is black or dark brown and lower part is bright yellow.

Characteristics: A highly venomous snake belonging to the cobra family. This snake is truly of the pelagic species--it never leaves the water to come to shore. It has an oarlike tail to aid its swimming. This species is quick to defend itself. Sea snakes do not really strike, but deliberately turn and bite if molested. A small amount of their neurotoxic venom can cause death.

Habitat: Found in all oceans except the Atlantic Ocean.

Length: Average 0.7 meter, maximum 1.1 meters.

Distribution: Throughout the Pacific Ocean from many of the Pacific islands to Hawaii and to the coast of Costa Rica and Panama.

U.S. Army Survival Manual

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This outdoor survival guide is based on the U.S. Army Survival Manual published by the U.S. Department of Defense. Buy It Now on Amazon.com.
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