Local wildlife warrior Lynleigh Greig, was recently involved in the rescue of two stranded sea snakes found at different local beaches. Here’s her advice if you come across one…

“These 2 yellow-bellied sea snakes (Hydrophis platurus) were rescued by Sydney Wildlife Rescue members from Manly Beach and Narrabeen Beach. They were rehabilitated and returned to open water, with the assistance of our wonderful Water Police Marine Area Command – NSW Police Force
(Image 1: The rescued yellow bellied sea snakes. Image 2: The two snakes in care together – looking very happy to be rescued! Image 3: Rehab for snakes looks pretty good at Sydney Wildlife Rescue).
People are often very surprised to learn that there are sea snakes in our waters off the Northern Beaches. But recent sea snake strandings have enlightened many locals to the presence of these wondrous creatures. True Sea Snakes have no need to come ashore, so when one becomes beached, they are most likely ill or injured or they have been caught in a wild current and need help to get back into open water. 
(Image 1: “With help from the amazing Water Police, we were able to return the rehabilitated sea snakes to open water.” Image 2: Lynleigh heading out with the Water Police. Image 3: A happy ending as the snakes are released into open waters). 
If you come across a live sea snake washed up on a beach, it’s important to remember that they are venomous and should ONLY be handled by a rescuer that is trained and licensed to handle marine elapids.
Image: One of the yellow-bellied sea snakes that was found stranded on Manly Beach. 

Steps to follow, should you encounter a beached sea snake:

1. Do not touch the sea snake!
2. Do NOT attempt to return the snake to the sea! Sea snakes that wash up on beaches are often sick, injured or disorientated (rolling around in the waves can cause them to drown).
3. Contact your local wildlife rescue organisation or marine experts. They will be able to assess the situation and take appropriate action. Sea snakes are very delicate and can be fatally-injured if handled incorrectly.
4. You can provide shade for the snake. Objects can be placed around the snake to prevent people from stepping on it or dogs from approaching it until a rescuer arrives.
5. Pouring water on the snake is sometimes indicated BUT NOT on the head (their nostril valves need to be closed or they may inhale water).”
Please keep these numbers handy to assist our amazing wildlife if in need:
Sydney Wildlife Rescue 9413 4300
Marine Wildlife Rescue 0478 439 965
Wires 1300 094 737
For more on the wonderful work that Sydney Wildlife Rescue does (or to make a donation to help them do it), please visit: www.sydneywildlife.org.au
(all images above courtesy of Sydney Wildlife Rescue)

To read about another amazing recent snake sighting on the Northern Beaches, click here.

Scroll to Top