Banded Sea Krait - Venomous Sea Snake

Banded Sea Krait

The Banded Sea Krait is the most-common of sea snakes in the Indo Pacific region. Females can grow to more than one metre long. They predate on eels, which they paralyze with their potent venom and then swallow whole. They're actually amphibious, as they often go onto land to lay eggs and digest their meals. Their flattened tails are very similar in appearance to their heads, which is an evolutionary development to confuse & discourage predators.

Banded Sea Krait (Laticauda colubrina) Raja Ampat Indonesia swimming across the reef looking for prey.
Banded Sea Krait (Laticauda colubrina)
Credit: Johan Folmeus
Banded Sea Krait (Laticauda colubrina) Koh Haa, Thailand
Banded Sea Krait
Credit: Margaret (Peggy) Scott
Banded Sea Krait Laticauda colubrina
Scientific Rank
Chordata (Chordates)
Subphlum: Olfactores
Subphlum: Vertebrates
Subphlum: Gnathostomata
Subclass: Reptilia: Reptiles
Order: Squamata (Scaled Reptiles)
Family: Hydrophiidae (Hydrophiidae)
Genus: Laticauda (Laticauda)
Species: Laticauda colubrina
Average Size: 75 centimetres - 1.25 metres

Although most sea snakes are far more venomous than any snakes on land, they are no danger to humans. How can this be? Well, for a start terrestial snakes are weighed down by gravity and this restrictions how many dimensions they are able to escape in? It's easy to corner a terrestial snake, making it more dangerous. But in water the sea snake can escape in any direction, including up or down. Therefore, if it feels threatened, escape is easy. Secondly, the mouth of sea snakes is very small, meaning that even if it wanted to bite a human, it would be very difficult.

Banded Sea Kraits are a lot of fun to dive with. They swim across the coral reef in search of food, and don't seem at all interested in divers, even those who get very close, or shove a GoPro in their face. In one of our videos here, the snake gets so close to teh GoPro lens that it goes out of focus.

Have you ever seen Banded Sea Krait when diving?
Let us know your thoughts by adding a comment below.

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