There are at least 52 different known species of sea snakes through out the world, but by far the most common species which we see while diving around Bunaken, Lembeh, Lembongan and South Lombok is the banded sea snake. This species is also known by several other names including the banded sea krait and the yellow lipped krait. How much do you know about this species? Here are some intriguing facts for you to share with your buddies next time you see one!
1. The banded species is actually a krait – the distinction between a sea snake and a sea krait is in the end of the tail. A sea krait will have a flattened paddle-like tail to help it swim more effortlessly through the water with the most propulsion.
2. The banded sea krait – like other kraits, is an air breather (unlike fish who can breathe through filtration underwater). Much like turtles, sea kraits have to swim to the surface to breathe before diving back down to the reef.
3. Banded sea kraits are among the most common species found and they are extremely easy to recognize due to their sharply contrasting bands of silver and black. Upon closer examination you will also see a yellow tinge at the edges of the mouth which leads to the common name “yellow lipped sea krait”. The scientific name for this snake is the Laticauda colubrine which has led to even more common names including the “banded colubrine” and ‘yellow lipped colubrine”. In this Blog we will refer to the banded sea snake –as it is known locally.
4. Are Sea Snakes Dangerous? This is one of the most common questions we are asked and the answer is no, they are not, BUT they can be if threatened – just as any other species in the ocean will act in self defense. The sea snake’s vision is relatively poor – especially when it is on land – so this is when it is most likely to strike. Underwater they are a docile species that spend most of their time foraging among the corals for small fish and other prey.
5. Do they Lay Eggs or Give Birth to Live Young? This is one of the most intriguing facts about this species and one which few people are aware of. Sea snakes lay their eggs on land – but not just on any land. Like sea turtles, they will return to the beach where they hatched to lay their own clutches of eggs.
6. How Big Are Sea Snakes? When fully matured, these are not small creatures! On average, the total length of a male is 875 mm (34.4 in) long, with a 130 mm (5.1 in) long tail. Females are significantly larger, with an average total length of 1,420 mm (56 in) and a tail length of 145 mm (5.7 in)
7. Are Sea Snakes Venomous? Yes, they are. One adult sea snake has enough venom to kill up to 10 human adults. They rarely bite though, they have to be under extreme threat – usually when they are on land trying to nest and are disturbed and their vision is poor so they act defensively.
8. Land or Ocean? Banded sea kraits are semiaquatic. Juveniles stay in water and on adjacent coast, but adults are able to move further inland and spend half their time on land and half in the ocean. Adult males are more terrestrially active during mating and hunt in shallower water, requiring more terrestrial locomotive ability. On the other hand, adult females are less active on land during mating and hunt in deeper water, requiring more aquatic locomotive ability. Because males are smaller, they crawl and swim faster than females. It is because of their paddle-like tail that sea kraits can move on land. Sea snakes without the paddle adaptation cannot move on sand and will become stuck and fatigued.
9. From the 52 known species, they are found in tropical and warm waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans – so all of our Two Fish Divers Resorts are ideally pleased for spotting these incredible critters and we have frequent encounters of them foraging, swimming and even mating!
Are you planning to come and join us this summer?
Check Out Our Discounts
To make a reservation or have a general chat you can fill in the contact form below with as much information as possible.
We look forward to seeing you soon at one of our stunning Indonesia Dive Resorts.