Fun Beaked Sea Snake Facts For Kids

Rhea Nischal
Oct 20, 2022 By Rhea Nischal
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
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Discover exhilarating beaked sea snake facts you never knew about its fangs, body, bite, and more!

The beaked sea snake, Enhydrina schistosa or Hydrophis schistosus, is a member of the Elapidae family and belongs to the genus Enhydrina. It can also be commonly referred to as the common snake, the Valakadyn sea snake, and the hook-nosed sea snake.

One of the world's most venomous marine snakes, its venom is incredibly toxic and can lead to the death of humans.

This snake species can be found inhabiting shallow water with sandy or muddy bottoms of mudflats at river mouths and estuaries. It can be seen across western, south, and southeast Asia in the Gulf of Oman, Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean, and the western Pacific Ocean up to New Guinea and Australia (Queensland and northern territory).

This unique species gets its name from the characteristic down-curved snout on its head that has a beak-like projection. This poisonous snake can adapt to living in the sea as it has valved nostrils to use when under the sea and a paddle-like, flattened tail for efficient swimming.

Like all other sea snakes, this species also lacks the expanded belly scales which are used to move on land by other land snakes. Its body is flattened vertically and is quite stout along with a head of a relatively small size.

The adult snake is whitish underneath and green-gray or olive-green on top. There are dark-colored cross-bands that join each other and run along the tail.

The cross-bands on the upper side are the widest and taper to the sides. They typically cease to be visible in old snakes.

It feeds predominantly on fish but sometimes can prey upon squid species. Astonishingly, this skilled snake can prey in waters that have low visibility!

Its prey is swallowed headfirst after releasing the venom. Keep reading to dive deeper into the ssseriously cool world of sea snakes!

If you enjoyed reading our ssseriously cool facts about this sea snake species, you must check out our king rat snake surprising facts and plain-bellied water snake facts for kids!

Beaked Sea Snake Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a beaked sea snake?

The beaked sea snake (Enhydrina schistosa) is a sea snake of one of the two species that belong to the Enhydrina genus. The other species is Enhydrina zweifeli, which is confined to the New Guinea coasts only.

The Enhydrina schistosa belongs to Elapidae, which is the cobra family. All members of the cobra family are characterized by hollow, fixed, and short fangs that transfer the venom its prey. The venom of beaked sea snakes is similar to cobras, but more potent.

This species's venom destroys cells of muscles and disables the action of the nerves. Considered to be one of the world's extremely venomous marine, its venom is so strong that it can cause a human's death if attacked.

What class of animal does a beaked sea snake belong to?

It belongs to the class Reptilia, like all other snake species.

How many beaked sea snakes are there in the world?

It is common across its range as per the IUCN. However, their total population has not been evaluated yet.

Where does a beaked sea snake live?

This snake swims in shallow waters that have sandy or muddy bottoms over mudflats at river mouths and in lagoons and estuaries.

It often gets entangled there in fishing nets of fishermen.

It can be seen on land as well as in sea across South, southeast, and western Asia in the Arabian Gulf, the Persian Gulf, western pacific ocean, south of the Seychelles and Madagascar, seas of South Asia like the Indian Ocean (Bangladesh, India, and, Pakistan), Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand, Papua New Guinea, and Australia (Queensland and northern territory).

What is a beaked sea snake's habitat?

This snake can be seen in the shallow waters of India, China, Iran, Indonesia, Kuwait, Iraq, Bangladesh, Australia, Cambodia, and Bahrain. It is prevalent around the coast of Pakistan as well as the coastal islands and the coast of India.

It resides in the depth between 9.8-72.2 ft (3-22 m) but can dive as deep as 328 ft (100 m)! It is both active during the night and daytime both.

Surprisingly, this unique snake can stay underwater for five hours at maximum before it resurfaces. All sea snakes possess glands that help them to eliminate unnecessary salt.

Who do beaked sea snakes live with?

Beaked sea snakes are typically solitary snakes that do not mate for life and have no long-term relationships. They don't socialize at all except during their breeding season when they come together to mate.

How long does a beaked sea snake live?

This sea snake can have a life as long as four to five years in the wild!

How do they reproduce?

These sea snakes mate annually in September and October. A few sea snakes lay their eggs on the land, but the snakes of this species are ovoviviparous where the eggs develop within the body of the female and are given birth to alive in the water.

Female sea snakes give birth to big live young, with the largest litter size of all sea snake species, 18-30 young. Many young do not last, but those who do grow very fast.

The young of this species become mature at the age of 18 months only, with the female giving birth to her very own first clutch at the age of 24 months.

The young are white in color mostly and possess dark-colored bands, which encircle their body. After a few months, they will swim towards the deep waters.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of these sea snakes as per the IUCN is the Least Concern. They do face significant threats such as the collection of their skin and venom, pollution, and getting entangled in fishing nets.

Beaked Sea Snake Fun Facts

What do beaked sea snakes look like?

The beaked sea snake has a body that is flattened vertically and ranges between 43.3-60 in (110-152.4 cm) in length. The skin of this snake is loose, particularly near its neck.

It has a head of relatively small size with overlapping and ridged scales all over. The adult snake is whitish below and green-gray or olive-green on top.

There are dark-colored cross-bands that join each other running along the tail. The cross-bands on the upper side are the widest and taper to the sides. They typically cease to be visible in old snakes.

This extraordinary species gets its name from the unique down-cured snout that has a beak-like projection. It also has valved nostrils to use when under the sea and a paddle-like, flattened tail for efficient swimming.

The beaked sea snakes have dark-colored cross-bands that run along the tail!

*Please note that the second image is of a sea snake and not of a beaked sea snake. If you have an image of a beaked sea snake, please let us know at hello@kidaadl.com.

How cute are they?

These sea snakes have the vicious capability to kill a human with their potent venom, thus it is not considered cute by many people. However, snakelets can be considered cute for snake-lovers.

How do they communicate?

It is believed that they can detect only vibrations through which they hunt down their victim and can even hunt in low-visibility waters.

How big is a beaked sea snake?

The length of this snake varies between 43.3-60 in (110-152.4 cm), with an adult having an average length of 48 in (121.9 cm). Females of this species are longer than the male at 60 in (152.4 cm). The female can reach the size of an Eastern ratsnake!

How fast can a beaked sea snake move?

The speed at which this species swim has not been evaluated yet. However, some records state that sea snakes can swim at an approximated speed of 2-2.5 mph (3.2-4 kph).

How much does a beaked sea snake weigh?

The weight of this species is not known till now. However, we do know that the young at birth weigh around 0.4 oz (11.3 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There isn't any particular name for the male or female beaked sea snake.

What would you call a baby beaked sea snake?

The baby of this species of sea snake can be referred to as a snakelet!

What do they eat?

Beaked sea snakes predominantly hunt wide-headed fish or squid species. This snake moves slowly along the sandy or muddy bottom till the time a pufferfish or a catfish comes nearby.

It will seize and paralyze the fish with the help of its venomous fangs. After its victim has stopped fighting back, the snake will rotate its head to its tail with the help of the flow of water and swallow up its victim. Its wide gape helps in swallowing the wide head of the catfish.

Sometimes, it will rotate the fish in the mouth to swallow the tail. This snake is preyed upon by larger fish and saltwater crocodiles.

Are they poisonous?

Yes, these extremely venomous snakes possess potent venom that they deliver through their fangs, making them extremely dangerous for humans. The venom of this species of sea snakes is 4-8 times toxic as compared to the venom of a cobra.

Just 1.5 mg of their venom is considered to be lethal. The majority of fatalities from beaked sea snake bites take place among Asia's fishermen, as anti-venom is unavailable or scanty there.

Just one bite of this snake that is fully loaded has the ability to kill 52 men and only three drops of their toxic venom have the ability to kill eight people!

Without treatment, the venom will kill a person within eight hours. If an anti-venom is given at the right time can save the victim.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these snakes would definitely not make a decent pet as they are highly venomous.

Did you know...

The belcher sea snake is the most poisonous in the world!

Are beaked sea snakes aggressive?

Found throughout the waters of Australia and Asia, these sea snakes are considered to be the most aggressive and dangerous to humans when provoked, harmed, or threatened. The majority of fatalities from beaked sea snake bites take place when people come in contact with them in shallow estuaries.

What eats a beaked sea snake?

Despite the incredibly potent venom the beaked sea snake can deliver through its bite, predators like saltwater crocodiles and large fish prey on these venomous species.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these European viper fun facts and frilled lizard surprising facts pages!

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our Beaked Sea Snake coloring pages!

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Written by Rhea Nischal

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

Rhea Nischal picture

Rhea NischalBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

A background in Business Administration and Management from MCM DAV College, Rhea has led her to work for her father's global business. However, her passion for content production, where she manages operations to ensure all processes run smoothly. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the piano and spending time with her one-year-old nephew.

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Fact-checked by Gowri Rao

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

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Gowri RaoBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

With a bachelor's degree in Economics from Krea University, Gowri is a highly skilled data analyst and an expert in regression and causation modeling. Her interests in economic trends, finance, and investment research complement her professional expertise. In addition to her professional pursuits, Gowri enjoys swimming, running, and playing the drums, and she is also a talented tutor.

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