Specialists Recommend Avoiding Handling Sea Snakes After Their Appearance on the Costa Rican Coast

    Most belong to the coral family of snakes

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    In recent days, in Playa Flamingo and Playa Brasilito, sea snakes have appeared that were captured in photographs by national and foreign tourists, however, a specialist from the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) of the Ministry of Environment and Energy recommended avoiding handling of these animals by the public.

    According to the registry of the ClodomiroPicado Institute (ICP) of the University of Costa Rica (UCR), the photographs received correspond to the species that has the scientific name Hydrophisplatura, whose maximum length usually reaches 114 centimeters.

    The ICP specifies that it is a sea snake with a “laterally flattened body, very small scales along the body, square or hexagonal in shape. Variable coloration, but they are generally black dorsally and yellow ventrally and laterally. Tail usually clear with black spots and modified for swimming. It is the only sea snake in the country.”

    Poisonous but not that dangerous

    Mauricio Méndez, SINAC Marine Biologist, stated that “it is a common snake on the coast, it is from the coral family and it is not really dangerous, although it is very poisonous, this contradiction is because of the position in which it has its fangs more or less so that she could bite someone she would have to put her fingers in her mouth because her fangs are very far back.”

    Avoid handling them

    “Of course, like any wild animal, the recommendation is not to touch it or handle it. When there is wind, since they are on the surface, that drags them towards the coast and they stay on the sand carried by the waves and there they die.

    A few years ago in Flamingo there was an event in which hundreds of these appeared, it is something very rare, but it happens, in the end the Coast Guard collected them in buckets and threw them out to sea, however, seeing one of them out in the coast is not something strange. There is no need to try to return them to the sea, if it reaches the beach it is because it is surely already very tired”, explained the Marine Biologist.

    This snake is commonly found from 1 to 20 kilometers from the Pacific Coast, not in the Atlantic, and feeds on small fish, reveals the ICP’s technical information.

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