Vertebrate fauna of SE Asia


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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
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Amphibious Sea Snake

Family : ELAPIDAE (Hydrophiinae)
Species : Laticauda colubrina
Maximum Size : 1.5 metres

The Amphibious Sea Snake, like other Sea Kraits, spends its time mainly at sea in shallow tropical reefs. However, it frequently comes ashore, especially during the breeding season when their eggs are laid on land. It is thus not considered a 'true' sea snake, which bear live young at sea.

The attractive silver and black banding covers the entire body from the neck area to the tip of the tail. The tail is laterally compressed and rudder-like, making the snake an efficient underwater swimmer. The species has a powerful myotoxic venom which will paralyze the muscles of a bite victim. 

This species ranges along the coasts of Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore to the islands of Indonesia, Philippines and the western Pacific Ocean.

Fig 1 : Juvenile example with an estimated total length of 15-20 cm, on a sandy beach on the island of Penang, Peninsular Malaysia; this may be a fresh hatchling.  The head is at the base of the photo, and the tail at the top.  Photo thanks to Graeme Guy.

Fig 2 : Amphibious Sea Snake in shallow, fringing coral reef at Manado Tua, Sulawesi, Indonesia.  Photo thanks to Kelvin Lim.

References : H1, H2

Fig 1

ゥ  Graeme Guy

Fig 2

ゥ  Kelvin Lim