Sea Creature Feature of the Week: Banded Sea Krait

You were mistaken if you believed you could escape land and swim freely from snakes in the ocean. Sea snakes are highly venomous and among the most venomous snakes found on the planet and can reach lengths of up to 50 inches, yet they pose minimal harm to people since they are not aggressive and have a low venom production.

The banded sea krait is a marine snake belonging to the Elapidae family. This sea snake is named from its black and white stripes and may be found in tropical seas along coral reefs in the Indian and western Pacific oceans. This species spends a significant amount of time on land, resting and digesting their meal, which may take up to two weeks. They have a unique tail that helps them to increase their swimming ability. They hunt eels by creeping through holes and fractures in the reef and paralyzing them with venom before swallowing them whole. Other species will follow the snake around to feed on the fish that the banded sea krait scares away from the reef. Larger predators, such as sharks, bony fish, and marine birds’ prey on this species.

The banded sea krait, Laticauda colubrina, was last evaluated by the IUCN Red List in 2009 and was classified as least concern. The banded sea krait is observed as an incidental bycatch in fishing nets or traps, and they can drown if trapped for too long, although these interactions are rare, and conservation efforts for this species are unclear.