Another Extremely Rare Venomous Sea Snake Washes Up On California’s Coast

For the second time in just two months, an extremely rare venomous sea snake has made a surprise appearance on Southern California’s coastline, suggesting that the abnormally warm temperatures of the local waters are attracting species that would have once given the area a miss.

A dead yellow-bellied sea snake, of a type commonly found throughout the warmer Pacific and Indian Oceans, washed up Friday along Bolsa Chica State Beach, about 30 miles south of Los Angeles, according to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

A different yellow-bellied sea snake was spotted in Oxnard, north of L.A., in late October. Experts suspect both snakes were in the region because of the warming waters brought by El Niño. The Oxnard snake died soon after it was discovered.

The Natural History Museum, whose herpetology curator, Greg Pauly, helped handle the snake at Bolsa Chica State Beach, called it an “exciting find,” noting that the species is almost never seen so far north.

“This is an exciting find and an important addition to the Museum collection — the two snakes are the northernmost records for this species in the Eastern Pacific, and only the fourth and fifth documented records of this species along the Pacific Coast of Baja and California, ever. All 5 records are from El Niño years,” the museum wrote on its Facebook page Monday.

Environmentalists cleaning the beach with the Huntington Beach chapter of the Surfrider Foundation took credit for Friday’s unusual find.

“We’re rarely surprised anymore by the things we find during our beach clean-ups but this one was a shocker!” Surfrider wrote on its Facebook page Saturday.

“Words of wisdom for those who like to play with snakes — don’t touch, it’s highly —> Read More