Fun Banded Sea Krait Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
May 11, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Banded sea krait facts are very interesting to read.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.9 Min

Do you like reading about various snakes or kraits? Then these banded sea kraits or yellow-lipped sea krait (Laticauda colubrina) facts will be very interesting to you.

These sea kraits aren't true sea snakes as they spend almost half of their life on land as well as in the waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans and return to the islands in Southeast Asia where they are enjoyed as a culinary seafood dish in a few countries. These subcylindrical sea kraits have black stripes all over their body and a unique yellow lip that extends over the head to their eyelids. They also have well-developed eyesight for nocturnal hunting. The yellow lip gives them their popular name, the yellow-lipped sea krait. Their smooth streamlined body with a flattened paddle-shaped tail makes them skilled swimmers, allowing them to swim forwards and backward and ambush their prey with a surprise attack. However, these sea snakes are skilled hunters and love preying on moray eels and conger eels. These sea kraits are extremely venomous, and in some cases, their neurotoxic venom can even cause death, paralysis of the brain and body, and cardiac arrest among other problems. They also have paddle-like tails and succulent lungs to swim underwater efficiently.

To learn more about these sea kraits, keep reading on. If you like reading about reptiles, then do check out our articles on Hognose snakes and Burmese pythons.

Banded Sea Krait Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a banded sea krait?

A banded sea krait (Laticauda colubrina) is a type of sea snake.

What class of animal does a banded sea krait belong to?

Banded sea kraits belong to the class of Reptiles within the animal kingdom.

How many banded sea kraits are there in the world?

Since banded sea kraits mainly live in deep ocean waters, they are quite understudied. Their exact population is unknown but their population has been classified as Least Concern as they are quite commonly spotted within their habitat.

Where does a banded sea krait live?

Banded sea kraits are most commonly found in the coastal waters or the deeper water of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. A banded sea krait (Laticauda colubrina) often returns to land to digest its prey. According to recent research, banded sea kraits are not true sea snakes as they spend 50% of their time on land as well.

What is a banded sea krait's habitat?

A banded sea krait's habitat is in the coral reefs in the deep sea waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans. They hunt for eels and small fish in the coral reefs and then return to land to digest their food.

Who do banded sea kraits live with?

A banded sea krait (Laticauda colubrina) like most nocturnal snakes are solitary hunters, however, they do travel along with different hunting parties like bluefin trevally and goatfish as it helps them catch fleeing prey.

How long does a banded sea krait live?

A banded sea krait is quite understudied so their exact lifespan is not known. On average in ideal conditions, they have been observed to live up to 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

The banded sea krait is not truly a sea snake and they are oviparous, meaning a female lays eggs that develop outside the body). A male reaches sexual maturity at 18 months and for females, it is 24 months. Their mating season usually starts in September and continues through December and takes place on land. Males gather on the coasts of small islands at high tide and look for a female to mate with. Females are larger and slower than males, so the male snake chases a female and entwines with her. They align their bodies with each other and contract rhythmically to produce Caudocephalic waves. Their mating process lasts for around two hours, however, the snakes remain intertwined for a few days to follow. The female then lays around four to 20 eggs per clutch and it takes the hatchlings about four to five months to come out.

What is their conservation status?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified banded sea kraits with a stable increasing population and they are in the Least Concern category. The threats they face are from predators like sharks, big fish, climate change, and pollution.

Banded Sea Krait Fun Facts

What do banded sea kraits look like?

Banded sea kraits have a long streamlined body with a flattened paddle-like tail and modified saccular lungs which make them excellent swimmers. A banded sea krait (Laticauda colubrina) is also called a yellow-lipped sea krait because of its unique yellow upper lip over its black head along with black stripes all over its white subcylindrical body. Their body is covered with ventral scales except for the mid-body which is covered with dorsal scales. This sea snake species has larger females reaching a length of 56 in (142 cm) and males are about 34.4 in (87.3 cm) long.

Underwater view of a banded Sea krait.

How cute are they?

Banded sea kraits can be considered quite cute due to their black and white coloration and unique yellow upper lip.

How do they communicate?

Banded sea kraits are venomous sea snakes so their method of communication is similar to that of all snakes in general. This species of Laticauda colubrine sea krait or the banded sea krait are quite understudied so not much is known about the specific ways this sea snake communicates as these kraits spend a lot of time in water hunting eels and small fish. Snakes, in general, use a vomeronasal system to locate their prey and smell an approaching potential predator.

How big is a banded sea krait?

Banded sea kraits are sea snakes found near Southeast Asia and females are larger than males. Females are about 56 in (142 cm) and males are around 34.4 in (87.3 cm) in length. A female banded sea krait has a tail length of 5.7 in (14.4 cm) and males have a tail length of 5.1 in (12.9 cm). Among these venomous sea snakes, females are larger as well as heavier than males and on average weigh around 1.3-4 lb (0.5-1.8 Kg) approximately. Yellow-lipped sea kraits or banded sea kraits are one of the largest sea kraits, much bigger than most sea kraits such as blue-lipped sea kraits and black-banded sea kraits.

How fast can a banded sea krait fly?

Banded sea kraits are snakes, so we can say for sure that they cannot fly! However, there have been reports that they travel five times less slowly on land than they do on the water.

How much does a banded sea krait weigh?

Banded sea kraits weigh around 1.3-4 lb (0.5-1.8 kg) on average. Females are about three times heavier than males.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Snakes or sea kraits don't have any distinct names for males and females and are generally referred to as male-banded sea kraits and female-banded sea kraits. These snakes showcase sexual dimorphism as females are longer and heavier than males.

What would you call a baby banded sea krait?

A baby banded sea krait is called a hatchling.

What do they eat?

Banded sea kraits are nocturnal hunters and they love preying on eels which is a major part of their diet. Some banded sea kraits also depend on various species of small fish. Females are larger than males and so they prey on larger Moray eels and Conger eels in the coral reefs and males prey on smaller Moray eels. Their excellent swimming skills and paddle-shaped tail help them ambush their prey and paralyze them with their neurotoxic venom and then they swallow the prey whole and return to land to digest. This species of sea kraits hunt during the night in the coral reef along with hunting parties like the goatfish which help them catch escaping food. They search for food by spotting them with their well-developed eyes. Their predators include sharks and other bigger carnivorous fish.

Are they poisonous?

Yes, banded sea kraits are an extremely venomous species of sea kraits containing a neurotoxic venom that they usually use to hunt an eel in the coral reef. Their venom is toxic enough to kill a man within hours especially if they are allergic. The venom of this species is extremely potent.

Would they make a good pet?

No, banded sea kraits will not make good pets as these sea krait species are wild solitary hunters and aren't very social. They have been observed to spend quite some time on land but still, they don't like much human interaction. Also, they are very poisonous.

Did you know...

In some places, these banded sea kraits are found to have a bluish-silver body covered with black stripes.

Banded sea kraits are known to leave the water every 10 to 14 days and are found on sandy beaches on islands. They have large lungs which help them to stay underwater for over two hours and hunt in the coral reef.

What is the difference between a sea snake and a sea krait?

Banded sea kraits are not true sea snakes as unlike sea snakes, they spend a lot of their time on land as well as water and are not fully aquatic. Sea kraits return to land such as islands to digest their food and also during mating season in search of potential mates for breeding. Sea kraits and sea snakes have their paddle-like tail in common which helps them swim through the coral reef more efficiently.

Are banded sea kraits dangerous?

Yes, they are quite dangerous and one of the most toxic and lethal creatures in the ocean. Their venom is 10 times more toxic and powerful than that of a rattlesnake. The venom of banded kraits can cause convulsions, cardiac failures, paralysis, and even death within hours in certain cases if a sea krait bites or attacks a human.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles including black rat snakes or painted turtles.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our banded sea krait coloring pages.

Banded Sea Krait Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Small fish and eels

What Type of Animal were they?

Carnivore

Average Litter Size?

4-20 eggs per clutch

How Much Did They Weigh?

1.3-4 lb (0.5-1.8 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

deep sea water and land

Where Do They Live?

indian ocean and western pacific ocean

How Long Were They?

Male: 34.4 in (87.3 cm)Female: 56 in (142 cm)‍

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Reptilia

Genus

Laticauda

Family

Elapidae

Scientific Name

Laticauda colubrina

What Do They Look Like?

Yellow with black stripes

Skin Type

Wet scales

What Are Their Main Threats?

climate change and loss of habitat

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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