Monday, June 15, 2009

Hook-Nosed Sea Snake | Enhydrina schistosa

Labels: Beaked sea-snake, Hook-nosed sea snake, Common sea snake, Valakadyn sea snake, Dariya samp, Samudhra samp

Binomial name: Enhydrina schistosa
Common name: Hook-Nosed Sea Snake

Scientific classification
















E. schistosa


Distinguishing Features: Medium sized; rough, dull scales; body flattened, tail flat and paddle-shaped.

Average Length: 60 cm; At Birth: 15 cm; Maximum: 1.5 m.

Description: This Sea Snake is a quite short, stout snake with square nose and tip of the upper jaw protruding in a hook over the lower one, hence the name. Their overall colour is grey and there are dark round blotches on the back. Their scales are rather coarse and granular, unlike most of the snakes. The underside and bottom half of their body is white. Their tail is flat and paddle-like in appearance.

Distribution: Hook-Nosed Sea Snakes are found in the coast and coastal islands of India and are the commonest of the over 20 kinds of sea snakes found in Indian coastal waters.

Habitat: They are normally found in the deep sea but prefer coastal regions. Many a times they are accidentally captured in the inshore fishing nets.

Habits: In general not much is known about the sea snakes. Mostly, they seem to be active both during day and night. They rarely seem to rest, while continuously swimming around when awake. They can stay under-water for a maximum period of 5 hours and can dive to about 100 m. Like most of the sea snakes, this species rarely bite and there are hardly any incidences of death from their bites. Sea snakes are equipped with glands to discard excess salt from their body.

Young: All sea snakes bear 2-5 living young, except the Amphibious Sea Snake.

Food: Being sea snakes, their main item in food includes fish. Their highly toxic venom quickly paralyses the fast and slippery prey.

Status: Hook-Nosed Sea Snakes are common and not much exploited. In few countries Amphibious Sea Snake are slaughtered for their meat and some other species are hunted for their skins.

Venom: Their venom is rated four to eight times toxic as Cobra venom. Other sea snake venoms are almost equally lethal. Sea snakes do not have a highly proficient venom injection apparatus as the Vipers and Cobras do. Anti-venom for its bite is not available here, but is made in Japan and Australia.

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