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Current Affairs

Attacks by sea snakes

Date: 25 August 2021 Tags: Biodiversity

Issue

A recent study published by Australia-based scientists tries to analyze the nature of attacks by sea snakes on deep water divers.

 

Background

Sea snakes are venomous creatures living in depths of ocean. They are very aggressive and a small bite can turn fatal.

 

Details

  • The author says that a diver encountering a sea snake during dive must not panic and try to attack the creature.

  • They should refrain from any movement and allow the snake to come closer and lick them. This is due to the sexual urges of the snakes.

 

The study

  • The study involved analyzing data set collected by another scientist on olive snakes off Australia’s northern coast.

  • The observation says that olive snakes more often than not approach divers during their breeding season.

  • This season is usually during the months of May and August, when the southern hemisphere is experiencing winters.

  • Male snakes had more chances of approaching humans than females. They indulged in coiling around the limbs or licked their exposed skin.

  • Most divers have experienced full bloodied attack by sea snakes during these months, forcing them to avoid dives.

 

Reasons for mistaken identity

  • Sea snakes mistake humans as female snakes and approach them. They do not have the heat sensing mechanism as land-based snakes and rely on their vision.

  • The poor visionary sense makes the snake think they are near a female snake. This incident mostly takes place with snakes and not other organisms of the sea.

  • The hormonal imbalances caused during the breeding months also affect their sense. They get aggressive and approach the wrong target.