Environment Agency warns public to avoid sea snakes

Monday, 17 Nov 2008
Category: Government
Countries: United Arab Emirates
Description: The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) calls on the public to avoid touching or harming any washed-up sea snakes they may encounter on the beach.
Comments:
The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) calls on the public to avoid touching or harming any washed-up sea snakes they may encounter on the beach.

Sea snakes are poisonous and their bites may be fatal.

Recently, a live sea snake was brought in to EAD by a member of the public. The snake had been found along the shore of Abu Dhabi. The snake, identified as Hydrophis lapemoides and commonly known as Arabian Gulf sea snake, measured only 36 cm.

Adults can grow up to 1 m in length. These snakes are commonly sighted in Abu Dhabi’s warm, shallow coastal waters from November to February. In the summer, they move to deeper waters.

“If you spot a sea snake on the shore, don’t touch it. Sea snakes have weak spines and so become helpless and appear as if they are dead,” said Thabit Al Abdessalaam, Director of Biodiversity Sector- Marine Environment.

So far, EAD has recorded a total of four species of sea snakes for Abu Dhabi Emirate. They were mostly sighted off Marawah Island, Jernain Island and Abu Dhabi Island.

More About Sea Snakes:

• All sea snakes are poisonous. They may bite to defend themselves or when scared.

• Snakes comprise the most recently evolved group of reptiles having evolved from lizards only 130 million years ago, during the late Jurassic period.

• Sea snakes can remain underwater for about 2 hours.

• Sea snakes shed their skin every two to six weeks.

If You Are Bitten by a Sea Snake:

• Immediately step away from the snake.

• Seek medical attention immediately.

• Snake venom should only be given if there is clear evidence of envenoming and under the supervision of a trained medical practitioner.

Contact Details

Contact Number: 971 2 6934637