Sea Snake: Toxicity of its venom

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Sea Snake: Toxicity of its venom

Sea snakes are mainly found in the tropical areas of the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. They live both near the coasts and in the open sea, but they prefer the first habitat, richer than their prey, the fish. In particular the coral formations, where there are many fish, are their favorite environment.

Unlike fish, sea snakes do not have gills, so they have to periodically rise to the surface to breathe. Most species give birth to live offspring near the coast; the young are active immediately after birth. They have an extremely powerful venom, to which fish are particularly sensitive.

Their body demonstrates adaptation to the aquatic environment: the nostrils can be closed tightly, the head is elongated and wide like the neck to cut through the water, the tail is high and narrow like a fin. Due to their physical characteristics, they cannot move easily on land.

On land, their movements become very erratic. They crawl awkwardly in these situations and can become quite aggressive, striking wildly at anything that moves, although they are unable to coil and strike in the manner of terrestrial snakes.

Sea snakes appear to be active both day and night. In the morning, and sometimes late in the afternoon, they can be seen at the surface basking in the sunlight, and they dive when disturbed. They have been reported swimming at depths over 90 m (300 ft), and can remain submerged for as long as a few hours, possibly depending on temperature and degree of activity.

The study: Sea Snake Toxicity, published on the StatPearls, shows interesting results regarding this curious research. We can read: "Sea snakes, thought to the most abundant venomous reptiles on the planet, are found in the warm, tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans but not in the Atlantic Ocean.

There are 57 known species of sea snakes and two major subfamilies (Laticaudinae and Hydrophiinae). Sea snakes are not aggressive although they have been known to bite humans in self-defense or when surprised; this most commonly occurs when fisherman attempt to remove them from fishing nets.

Envenomation by sea snakes can be a potentially fatal condition, if not appropriately treated, as sea snake venom is a potent neurotoxin with low LD50 values. Subsequent respiratory compromise or drowning can occur owing to the paralysis of the diaphragm and skeletal muscles, respectively. avoidance of sea snakes is the best approach. "