A yellow-bellied sea snake washed ashore on Fish Hoek Beach on Tuesday, September 22. This is an extremely rare occurrence as these snakes inhabit tropical waters within the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The lone serpent was photographed slithering on the sand. Beachgoers walking their dogs were urged to be cautious as these snakes are highly venomous and there is no anti-venom available.

The unusual sighting did not have a happy ending though. The snake has allegedly died and will be used for research.

In July, a yellow-bellied sea snake washed ashore on uMhlanga beach in KwaZulu-Natal. South African snake handler, Jason Arnold said that when this occurs the snake may be ill or because of strong currents.

“Generally when these snakes wash up on the shore, it’s either because of strong currents that got the better of them, or because the snake is old and weak, or sickly,” he said.

If you encounter a sea snake, you should contact Jon Monsoon (0718714980) or the Two Oceans Aquarium (021 418 3823) to collect the animal.

Do not try and put the snake back into the water as it will only further exhaust the animal and it is likely to re-beach itself.

Image: False Bay Underwater Club

Article written by

Imogen Searra