Extremely venomous snakes which normally live in tropical waters have washed up on Australia’s east oast.
Carolyn Larcombe, from Burra near Canberra, spotted a small yellow-bellied sea snake on the sand while walking along Congo Beach, 10km south of Moruya.
She told the ABC the snake was “very quiet” and that, using a stick, she was able to manoeuvre it into the water. She did the same with a second, larger, snake of the same species she found later that day.
“It was very quiet [and] I was able to put it over a stick and put it back in the water,” Ms Larcombe said.
Later that day, Ms Larcombe spotted a second, larger sea snake and also returned it to the waves.
She recognised the species from photographs and from one she saw stranded at Broulee Beach around 30 years ago.
“I’m not scared of snakes; I was being very, very careful,” she said.
“I thought they had a better chance of survival back in the water than up high and dry on the sand.”
Yellow-bellied sea snakes are the most wide ranging snakes in the world, usually inhabiting the deep, offshore waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Australian Museum reptile expert Ross Sadlier told ABC News that the sea snakes found on Congo Beach were likely to have been washed south by ocean currents before falling prey to recent rough seas.
“Those that are probably a little bit weaker, or just unlucky individuals, tend to get caught up in that [and] then washed ashore,” Mr Sadlier explained.
Muriel M. Delossantos