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The Wonderful Sea Snakes!

Warna Warni - Hello, today we're going to take a look at the wonderful and also the dealiest snake in the world. Sea snakes!

Let's watch this amazing video.

And below is the text version of this video.

Coming up next on Jonathan Bird's Blue World, a look at the deadliest snakes in the world. Sea snakes!

An Animal Surrounded In Mystery

Hi, I'm Jonathan Bird and welcome to my world! The sea snake is an animal surrounded in mystery—known for its incredibly powerful venom, but not much else. Just how dangerous are these marine reptiles? I have traveled to Queensland, Australia on a quest to learn about sea snakes. Here on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, sea snakes are fairly common. Lets go see if we can find one.

I hit the water, grab my camera and head towards the sea floor. Today I'm diving on a little seamount called a coral Bommie. It's a mini-mountain of coral sticking up from the bottom, but not quite reaching the surface. Near the top of the Bommie, thousands of small fish feed on plankton passing by in the current, but they stay close to the reef, because they are being watched by a big school of jacks who are on the prowl for food themselves.

The bommie is covered in healthy coral that provides lots of nooks and crannies for the fish to hide if they need cover. On the other side of the bommie, a large school of snappers are also looking for something to eat, and keeping a safe distance from the jacks.

As I swim along at the base of the bommie, I'm keeping my eyes open for a snake-like animal. The coral looks healthy and a Spinecheek anemonefish gives me a quick glance from the safety of her host anemone. But I keep scanning the bottom and at last I have found my quarry: an olive sea snake, the most common species around the Great Barrier Reef. It's swimming along the bottom doing the same thing everything else is doing—looking for food.

Sea Snake Quite Similar to Land Snake

The sea snake is closely related to a land snake, except it has adapted for life underwater. When a sea snake flicks its tongue, it's getting rid of excess salt secreted by special glands in its mouth. Sea snakes live exclusively in the ocean, but since they're reptiles, their kidneys can't deal with too much excess salt in their blood.

A sea snake gets around with a flattened section of tail that looks like an oar and serves as a fin. It looks just like an eel when it swims, undulating its body and getting propulsion from that flattened tail. Although sea snakes prefer to eat fish, eels and shrimp, these snappers aren't at all afraid of the sea snake, because they are way too big for the sea snake to bite.

This snake is heading for the surface to grab a breath of air. A sea snake, just like a land snake, has lungs and must breathe air to survive. It can hold its breath up to 3 hours during a dive. Recent research has shown that some sea snakes also can absorb a little bit of oxygen directly from the water through their skin, which is probably why a breath can last so long. After spending a minute at the surface breathing, the sea snake comes back down to the bottom.

It's poking around, looking for holes where it might corner a fish or shrimp. It sticks its head into the holes, hoping to get lucky. The sea snake is most closely related to the Cobra on land, and its venom is quite similar to cobra venom, but considerably more potent. If it manages to grab a fish, the venom will kill it in seconds.

Sea snakes quite often take a rest on the bottom, sleeping as they hold their breath. I use the opportunity to sneak up on one. In spite of their fearsome venom, sea snakes are very timid and not particularly aggressive. Although this one is obviously not thrilled about being picked up, it doesn't try to bite me.

And when I let go, it just swims away. I find another one and can't resist the opportunity to show the flattened tail section. Swim, be free! Although the sea snake is one of the most venomous animals in the world, you're not very likely to be bitten by one.

There are 62 known species of sea snakes and they live all around the tropical Indo-Pacific. I found this banded sea snake in the Philippines. They like nice warm tropical water because they are cold-blooded, like all reptiles. If the water gets too cold, they get lethargic.

So, no matter what you might think of snakes, sea snakes are timid and shy animals that represent almost no threat at all to people, even though they produce some of the most powerful venom in the world.

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