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If you are mesmerized by deadly snakes like the king cobra, then you are in the perfect place. We have carefully curated all the relevant information about one of the deadliest sea snakes, the faint-banded sea snake or the Belcher's sea snake. Sea snakes are usually poisonous. However, the Belcher's sea snake has raised the bar in terms of its venom. Once bitten, the neurotoxins of the venom starts reacting to the body and ultimately shuts down very vital organ, thereby leading to paralysis and then a very painful death. Fishermen are the most common victims of these venomous snakes who get bitten while handling nets. It is estimated that the venom of this snake can kill a human being in just 30 minutes.
But fear not, as you can easily survive a sea snake bite. First of all, the bites from a sea snake are extremely rare, and moreover, out of all the bites, only a mere 3% of those bites have been proved to be fatal. Lastly, these snakes are mild-tempered animals, and unless extremely instigated, they won't bite. These snakes also have small teeth with less gripping space, thereby making it difficult to bite humans.
As evident from its name, the faint-banded sea snake (Hydrophis belcheri) is a type of snake belonging to the Elapidae family. Another interesting snake is the king cobra.
Just like all other snake species of the world, the faint-banded sea snake (Hydrophis belcheri) belongs to the class Reptilia and the order Squamata of the Animalia Kingdom.
The faint-banded sea snake (Hydrophis belcheri) is an extremely rare species of snake that is found on our planet. As a result, it is very difficult to determine the population of this species. Reports from 2005 claim that about 20 individuals were found in Vietnam while 10-20 individuals were found in the Gulf of Thailand. With their population trend too unknown, it will be difficult to know more about this species. Destruction of the natural habitat of these snakes, i.e. reefs, has resulted in the snakes moving closer to the coast, thereby increasing their chances of coming in contact with humans.
The main geographic location of the Belcher's sea snake (Hydrophis belcheri) is largely concentrated in the Indian Ocean and nearby locations like New Guinea, the Philippines, the Gulf of Thailand, and Vietnam. These snake species have also been found in the northern territory regions of Australia like Ashmore Reef, the Timor Sea, the Solomon Islands, and New Caledonia.
The faint-banded sea snake (Hydrophis belcheri) usually inhabits the tropical reefs of the Indian ocean. The snakes prefer shallow waters where there is an abundance of prey. These spots are usually tropical reefs that are close to the coast. Reefs are the ideal spots for these sea snakes as they provide natural protection against predators along with providing them with food, i.e. aquatic life.
Owing to very limited information and data about these snakes, it is unknown whether these snakes lead a solitary life or stay in groups.
Not much is known about the Belcher's sea snake (Hydrophis belcheri); however, it is estimated that these snakes have an average lifespan of around four to five years.
Unlike other snakes, the male species of these snakes are known to have two reproductive organs. However, only one of them (Hemipenes) is used during mating. The surrounding habitat and climate play a vital role in the mating of these snakes. Warm temperate waters are ideal for mating these snakes. The breeding takes quite a long time. Both sexes reach sexual maturity at different points of life. Males mature faster and can mate in about three years, while for females, it takes more time, and thus they can mate after four or five years of age.
The faint-banded snake or the Belcher's sea snake (Hydrophis belcheri) has been listed as Data Deficient by the Internation Union for Conservation of Nature or the IUCN Red List as not much is known about these snakes. With the destruction of their natural habitat, these snakes now move closer to the coast, thereby increasing the chance of coming in contact with humans.
The faint-banded sea snake, aka Belcher's sea snake, has a long and slender body. They are usually dark greenish to yellow in color. The ventral scales of this snake are narrow, and unlike other snakes, the scales of this snake overlap one another.
Snakes are not at all considered cute by people, and venomous snakes are more feared by humans. However, marine biologists can find the Belcher's sea snake to be extremely adorable.
Not much is known about the communication of this snake species. However, we can make an assumption based on sea snakes. Sea snakes are known to communicate with each other by secreting, receiving, and analyzing pheromones in the water.
The Belcher's sea snake has a length of 20-40 in (51-102 cm) in length. In comparison with a copperhead snake (20–37 in or 50–95 cm), we can say that these snakes are almost similar in length.
The Belcher's sea snake is a fast-moving snake that can achieve high speeds while swimming under the water. The high speed of the snake, along with its slender body, makes movement very easy and thus enabling them to attack their prey at a very high speed. These snakes are known to travel at speeds of around 12 mph (19 kph).
The exact weight of these snakes is not known. But in general, sea snakes weigh around 1.8-2.9 lb (0.8-1.3 kg).
Just like all other snakes of the world, there is no distinctive name for this venomous snake. Therefore the males are referred to as males while the females are known as female snakes.
Baby snakes all over the world are known as snakelings, and thus the ideal way to refer to a baby would be calling it snakeling.
The main diet of the Belcher's sea snake consists of small fishes, eels, fish eggs, and other smaller animals.
The faint-banded sea snake, aka Belcher's sea snake, is a venomous snake, and these snakes are known for their toxicity. The venom is deadly and can prove fatal for human beings within hours of being bitten. The majority of the victims of these snakes are fishermen that get bitten while handling nets.
No, not at all. These are venomous snakes, and the faint-banded sea snake bite is toxic to the human body. The faint-banded sea snake venom release is dependent on the snake itself. Not all bites contain venom, and thus, in some cases, when bitten, the bite may be non-toxic. On average, 25% of the bites contain venom, but be very careful as the faint-banded sea snake venom power is extremely high.
The Belcher's sea snake (H Belcheri) is often confused with the hook-nosed sea snake. The confusion with the hook-nosed sea snake created a huge controversy when a book erroneously claimed that the faint-banded sea snake was the most poisonous of all snakes. The Inland taipan remains to date the most venomous snake, both among land and sea snakes.
This faint-banded sea snake, also known as the Belcher's sea snake, has been named after Sir Edward Belcher, who first identified this snake species. The name was given by John Edward Gray in 1849.
The bite causes swellings, nausea, pain, convulsions, and paralysis. The majority of victims of these snakes are fishermen who get bitten while handling nets. However, it should be noted that this snake is not very aggressive and doesn't attack humans often. Moreover, small fangs make it more difficult to bite and grip on the flesh of a human.
Hydrophis belcheri is the scientific name of this snake. In Greek, Hydrophis means water serpent, thereby giving the name.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other animals from our bog turtle facts and flying squirrel facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable snake coloring pages.
Second image by Christian Gloor.
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