Sea krait

Laticauda colubrina

SUBFAMILY

Hydrophiinae

TAXONOMY

Hydrus colubrinus Schneider, 1799, type locality unknown.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The sea krait has an average length of approximately 39 in (1 m) but can reach 55 in (1.4 m). It has a striking banded pattern with alternating blue or bluish gray and black bands. Adaptations for marine life include valved nostrils and a paddle-shaped tail. Well-developed ventrals facilitate terrestrial locomotion after emergence from water.

DISTRIBUTION

Coastal regions from India through Southeast Asia to New Guinea and many Pacific islands.

HABITAT

This snake forages on coral reefs and comes onto beaches and nearby rocky areas to rest and lay eggs. It occasionally enters mangrove areas.

BEHAVIOR

The sea krait is mainly nocturnal but sometimes forages during the day.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

This snake feeds almost exclusively on eels in coral reefs.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The female lays up to 18 eggs on land.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

The sea krait is highly venomous but has a gentle nature and rarely bites humans. ♦

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