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Rare “dangerously venomous” snake found by woman walking dog on the beach

While walking her dog at the beach, a woman in Queensland, Australia, came across a strange-looking snake, the likes of which she had never seen before. Little did she know that it was an extremely rare and deadly venomous sea snake.

“[The snake] was stranded on a beach in Burrum Heads on the Fraser Coast, Queensland,” Drew Godfrey of Hervey Bay Snake Catchers told Newsweek. “They can’t move on land very well…[and] they can’t get off the beach and usually die of dehydration if not rescued.”

The woman said the snake needed help and called a local wildlife rescue group, East Coast Exotic Haven, which turned to Godfrey.

“I don’t consider myself an expert on sea snakes…[and] in my ignorance I thought it was an elegant sea snake with a deformed head and forebody,” Godfrey said. “However, it turns out not much is known about this particular species at all.”

A rare and elusive small-headed sea snake was spotted on a beach in Queensland, Australia. Very little is known about this species, other than the fact that it is highly venomous.
Hervey Bay Snake Catchers/Facebook

The snake was a small-headed sea snake, a rare and elusive species found in Queensland and New Caledonia. “It is a relatively uncommon species that little is known,” Godfrey said. “There is very little information or footage of them, and not many people, even snake experts ever encounter one.

“All I can really find out is that…it is a dangerously venomous species that grows to about 1 meter and has litters of two to three young,” he continues. “Like all sea snakes, it is viviparous, meaning it gives birth to live young. They live in inshore areas and turbid estuaries, which perfectly explains why it was found at the mouth of Burrum Heads channel.”

Despite their toxic venom, sea snakes are very placid and will not bite unless they are seriously provoked. “You can swim with sea snakes just fine,” Godfrey said. “All snakes in general are harmless if left alone, but sea snakes in particular are one of the least dangerous snakes we have to deal with, despite being so venomous.”

After rescuing the snake, Godfrey took it back to his bathtub to keep it moist while waiting to transport it to the Australia Wildlife Hospital. “This one won’t be able to be released just yet,” he said.

Godfrey shared photos of the unusual snake to his Hervey Bay Snake Catchers Facebook page, in a post that has received hundreds of likes.

“Super experience and learning, sharing is very thoughtful of you,” commented one user.

“Amazing! Hope snake recovers and can go back to the wild soon,” said another.

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