Another yellow-bellied sea snake sighting in Taranaki

Suzanne Tanner spotted the yellow-bellied sea snake on Friday morning.
Suzanne Tanner

Suzanne Tanner spotted the yellow-bellied sea snake on Friday morning.

For goodness' snake, a second sea serpent has been found in Taranaki in as many weeks.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) have confirmed a sighting at New Plymouth's Back Beach on Friday was that of a yellow-bellied sea snake, the same species found two weeks ago on Tapuae Beach. 

While a little unusual DOC ranger Callum Lilley said there was no need for beach-goers to be worried.

Suzanne Tanner took this photo of the sea snake that washed up on Back Beach.
Suzanne Tanner

Suzanne Tanner took this photo of the sea snake that washed up on Back Beach.

"Surfers should not be concerned, but regardless people should keep their distance and not harass or provoke sea snakes."

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On Friday morning, Suzanne Tanner was walking along beach when she heard another woman scream.

SUPPLIED/Lars Farrant

Video of what is believed to be a sea snake that has washed up on a Taranaki beach.

"This lady was pointing and saying there was a snake. I ran over to take pictures."

Tanner said she called DOC and sent them photographs of the snake but when staff went to look for it they had no luck.

"The tide was coming in quick. They said it probably died because it can't live out of water," Tanner said.

A yellow bellied sea snake pictured on a beach in Costa Rica.

A yellow bellied sea snake pictured on a beach in Costa Rica.

Known as a Pelamis platura, the snake has distinctive colouring with a dark back contrasting with paler sides and has a paddle-shaped tail.

Their average total length is around one metre and they can dive up to 50 metres for three to four hours, depending on the temperature of the water.

The sea snakes breed in the tropics, spending a large amount of their lives drifting on the ocean currents, and are often brought here by wind and oceanic currents.

Lilley said it was hard to determine whether or not Taranaki would see more beached snakes,  but in 2009 three were spotted in the region.

While, the snake's venom could cause paralysis or renal damage they usually preyed on fish and it was uncommon for humans to be bitten.

New Zealand Poisons Centre said application of pressure prior to moving a victim, as well as administering antivenom, was a life-saving action for anyone bitten

However, as of now the Taranaki District Health Board did not have an antivenom for a yellow-bellied sea snake bite.

They said a patient would be given treatment to manage symptoms while staff consulted with a toxicologist for ongoing treatment options.

 - Stuff

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