Typically docile in behaviour, one of the world’s most venomous animals is a guaranteed “top sight” of any reef dive. Often found swimming through the water, or hiding in crevices both on land and in the ocean, this fascinating sea snake is our wildlife of the week:

Species: Laticauda colubrina

Class: Reptilia

IUCN Status: Least Concern

Diet: Feeds on eels in shallow coastal waters and returns to land to digest its prey

Size: Females weigh around 1800 grams and measure 150 centimetres in length on average, and are larger than males, which are only 600 grams on average and 75 to 100 centimetres in length. A giant 3.6-metre sea krait was once spotted

Behaviour: They often return to land to rest, shed their skin or shelter in vegetation, under beach rocks or in crevices and caves. The females deposit their eggs on land

Distribution: A large portion of the Pacific Ocean, from Malaysia to New Zealand

Ecosystem: They are found in a wide range of habitats, including coral islands, coral reefs, mangroves, and in the open ocean – most often in shallow waters up to a depth of 10 metres

5 Fast Facts:

  • Eggs laid on land are rarely encountered in the wild, with possibly only two nests reported over the entire distribution of the species – they are extremely secretive
  • The banded sea krait is highly venomous and bites can prove fatal, but its relatively docile nature means that it rarely bites humans
  • Coastal development and habitat destruction, including the loss of shore habitats required for laying eggs and digesting prey, are major threats to the species’ survival
  • When the young hatch from their eggs they resemble small adults. They do not undergo any metamorphosis
  • The head and tail are very similar in appearance, and this can trick predators into thinking that the sea krait has two venomous heads – acting as a preventive, mimetic adaptation

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