Now that it appears we’re in the midst of an el Niño event, I wanted to get the word out about the possibility of sightings of yellow-bellied sea snakes.
Sea snakes usually live in warmer waters in the tropics, and live their full life cycle in the sea. Rarely do they come to land. On 1/13/2016, a sea snake had been reported at Coronado island. Prior to this, only two specimens have been confirmed touching land in California – one in the 1970s, and the most recent (which you probably have heard about) just this October – Silver Strand beach in Oxnard, CA.
Now, if you happen to see one at Cabrillo, this would be big news. Try to get an Law Enforcement or Natural Resources ranger on the radio so that we can come out and document it. Please note your location and take a lot of photos, but please, do not touch the snake. Though not aggressive, this is a venomous snake. And because of its life history being completely in the sea, a sea snake on land usually means that it’s injured, dying, or already dead. Please pass along the information to me or better yet, enter the info into iNaturalist.
Biological Science Technician