Thanks, El Niño: A Venomous Sea Snake Showed Up On The Beach
In today's edition of nightmares coming true IRL, a deadly sea snake was found slithering around a Ventura County beach on Friday—the first time in nearly 35 years such a creature has been spotted in California. The reason? Scientists say we can thank good ol' El Niño.The yellow-bellied sea snake, alias Pelamis platurus, was found on the shore by a surfer at Silver Strand Beach in Ventura County, according to Heal the Bay. This yellow-bellied
sea-demon from hell snake is related to Asian cobras and Australian tiger-snakes, and has some of the deadliest venom in the world. As the Daily News reports, the last time this type of snake was seen in California was during the 1982-83 El Niño at San Clemente beach in Orange County.
In a statement, Heal the Bay's Matthew King wrote, "A few have been found in Oxnard recently but who knows what's next."
"A few"? That means, more than one, right? Oh, God.
Heal the Bay posted an infographic to their Facebook page yesterday, warning people of the dangers of the snake, and urging them to take photos and report the sighting. In the comments, Facebook user Anna Iker responded by posting her own photo of a yellow-bellied snake she'd also spotted on the same beach on Thursday, and wrote, "It was alive when we first spotted it but seemed to be dying. Not sure what the end result was....It did get washed back into the ocean but I lost track of it soon after."
CBS L.A. tracked down Iker, who said she took the picture while her kids were playing the water. Her neighbor Mary Price told KCAL, "We all just freaked out because that's not something you see around here, ever."
The warmer ocean temperatures, associated with El Niño, already in effect in California, are believed to be the cause of these recent sea snake sightings. In addition to heavier rainfall, and as a consequence, horrible mudslides this year's 'Godzilla' El Niño could also trigger a number of ecological phenomena, like the great news that it could also cause an uptick in snakebites.
But if you're still planning on hitting the beach despite all this, there's a good chance you'll walk away unscathed, as long as you play it cool. "They would probably only bite if people were aggressive like if they were holding the snakes or bumping into them," Heal the Bay's Dana Murray told CBS L.A. "You have a better chance of being killed from a falling vending machine or stuck by lightning than you do by getting bit by a shark or one of these sea snakes in California."
Whatever you say.