the Legacy continues…………………….
Gregory R. Mann, Ph.D. {ret.}

Belcher’s Sea Snake

“Hydrophis Belcheri”

The Belcher Sea Snake also known as the Faint-banded Sea Snake, is considered the most poisonous of all the snakes in the world and by some considered to be the most toxic animal in the world. The Belcher Sea Snake is typically found swimming near by tropical reefs in the Indian Ocean, New Guinea, Gulf of Thailand, Indonesia and off the coast of the Philippines. They don’t pose such a big threat to humans since they live in remote places. The toxicity of this snake’s poison is so potent that it can kill a person in less than 30 minutes. The good news about this snake is that it seems to be quite friendly and mild-tempered and if it does decide to bite as studies have shown that only 25% of the time will it release its venom. The Belcher Sea Snake was named after first discovered by the British explorer Sir Edward Belcher. John Edward Gray is the person who named the snake in 1849. Later, Charles Darwin re-discovers the snake and removed his claim when he found out that it was Belcher who first came across it. The Belcher Sea Snake venom is a 100 times more deadly than the Inland Taipan Snake. It is known for having a friendly nature and being mild-tempered, but it will inject a deadly bite if it’s provoked.

The Belcher Sea Snake is considered is the most toxic sea snake and also the most venomous snake in the world. This animal has neurotoxins that can kill, but they only inject us with a small amount of venom because the venom takes time to make. The toxicity of the snake can take a person’s life within 30 minutes if left untreated. An interesting fact is one drop of venom from the King Cobra kill up to 160 people in 30 minutes, but the myotoxic venom of the Belcher Sea Snake is thought strong enough to kill 1,800 people. The length of the Belcher Sea Snake can range from 0.50 meter to 1 meter. The Belcher Sea Snake has a slim body with chrome yellow color and dark greenish cross bands from head to tail. The small head has similar band color as the rest of his body and its small mouth is suitable for its underwater living. It breaths air and it has valves over its nostrils which close when its underwater. When swimming in the shallow water, it can be recognized by the fainted yellow color on its body. Unlike other snakes there scales are different from other snakes. Their scales overlap each other. They have ventral scales which are very narrow. When underwater, it will propel by paddling its’ tail allowing it to move around at fast speeds. Like other sea snakes, it will have to visit the surface of the water from time to time. The primary food source of the Belcher Sea Snake is small fishes, fish eggs and shell fish. It can hold its breath up to 7-8 hours during hunting for food in the water. All sea snakes are ovoviviparous, development of eggs that remain within the mothers body up until they hatch or are about to hatch. The young are born alive in the water where they live out their entire life cycle. In some species, the young are quite large, sometimes up to half as long as their mother.