Sunday, July 24, 2011

Life of Beaked Sea Snake

Life of Sea | Beaked Sea Snake (Enhydrina schistosa) | This seasnake is also known as Hook-nosed sea snake, Common sea snake and Valakadyn sea snake. It is considered as one of the most venomous marine in the world. The venom is very strong. It can cause death to human. Beaked sea snake lives in shallow waters with muddy or sandy bottoms. Particulary, it t is found  over mud flats in estuaries and at river mouths. You can see this sea snale in Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, Indian Ocean and Western Pacific Ocean, as far as Australia and Papua New Guinea. Beaked sea snake gets its common name from the distinctive downturned, beak-like projection on the snout, at the front of the upper jaw.

Beaked sea snakes can adapt to live at sea. They havesessing a flattened, paddle-like tail for swimming. Valved nostrils is used when they are being under the sea. Sea snakes also lack the expanded belly scales that most other snakes use for moving on land. The body of the Beaked sea snake is quite stout and vertically flattened, with a relatively small head. The adult is dull olive green or greenish-grey above, and whitish below, with dark crossbands that tend to fuse together towards the tail. The crossbands are widest on the upperside, tapering to points on the flanks, and usually disappear in older adults, which are a more uniform bluish-grey colour. 
Beaked sea snakes feedmainly on catfish. They will also feed on pufferfish and other fish or squid species. They will know their prey by detecting movement. Therefore, they can hunt in low-visibility waters. After releasing their venom to their prey, they will swallow their prey by head first. Sea snakes are amongst the most venomous of the world’s snakes and Beaked sea snake is one of the most dangerous. Most sea snakes rarely bite, and often do not inject much venom when they do. But, it is more aggressive than most. Only about 1.5 milligrams of its venom is enough to kill a human, with a full dose estimated to be enough to kill 22 people. Most fatalities from beaked sea snake bites occur where it often comes into contact with humans, such as in shallow estuaries.

The beaked sea snake mates in September and October, and breeding is likely to be annual. Female sea snakes give birth to relatively large, live young, and this species produces the largest litter of any sea snake, giving birth to an average of 18 young, but sometimes up to 30 or more. Mortality of young beaked sea snakes is likely to be high, but those that survive grow rapidly. Maturity is reached at around 18 months, the female usually giving birth to the first clutch of young at around 24 months.

The venom of this snake is rated four to eight times as toxic as cobra venom. About 1.5 milligrams of its venom is estimated to be lethal. Most of the deaths from sea snake bites occur among fishermen in southeast Asia, where access to antivenom is scanty or nonexistent, and where the snakes are trapped by some groups for their skins. If you get a live one in your net, and it hasn't wasted all of its venom chewing through the rope, a single fully loaded bite could kill 52 grown men.
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