Kraits Cobras Sea Snakes and Relatives: Elapidae
Sea Krait (laticauda Colubrina): Species Accounts
Physical characteristics: The sea krait is banded with blue or bluish gray and black and has a paddle-shaped tail to help it swim. It also has valves, or flaps, that can close its nostrils, or nose holes, when it goes underwater. Adults are usually about 39 inches (1 meter) long, but some sea kraits can reach 55 inches (1.4 meters) in length.
Geographic range: The sea krait is found in New Guinea, on many Pacific islands, and from India to Southeast Asia.
Habitat: Sea kraits spend most of their lives in the ocean water, coming ashore only to rest or to lay their eggs. Once in a while, they may travel into mangrove swamps. Mangroves are tropical trees and shrubs that form thick masses along coastlines.
Diet: They usually find their food, primarily eels, in coral reefs.
Behavior and reproduction: Most active at night, the sea krait occasionally looks for food in the daytime. In the breeding season, females leave their saltwater homes to lay up to eighteen eggs at a time on the seashore.
Sea kraits and people: People are rarely bitten by this gentle snake. A sea krait's bite, however, is venomous.
Conservation status: The sea krait is not endangered or threatened. ∎
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Branch, Bill. Field Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Sanibel Island, FL: Ralph Curtis Books, 1998.
Brazaitis, Peter, and Myrna E. Watanabe. Snakes of the World. New York: Crescent Books, 1992.
Broadley, Donald G. FitzSimons' Snakes of Southern Africa. Johannesburg, South Africa: Jonathan Ball, 1990.
Campbell, Jonathan A., and William W. Lamar. The Venomous Reptiles of Latin America. Ithaca, NY: Comstock Publishing Associates, 1989.
Cogger, Harold G. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Sydney, Australia: Reed New Holland, 2000.
Creagh, Carson. Reptiles. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1996.
George, Linda. Coral Snakes. Mankato, MN: Capstone Books, 1998.
Lovett, Sarah. Extremely Weird Snakes. Santa Fe, NM: John Muir Publications, 1999.
Mattison, Chris. The Encyclopedia of Snakes. New York: Facts on File, 1995.
Montgomery, Sy. The Snake Scientist. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001.
Spawls, Stephen, and Bill Branch. The Dangerous Snakes of Africa: Natural History, Species Directory, Venoms, and Snakebite. Sanibel Island, FL: Ralph Curtis Books, 1995.
"King Cobra." NationalGeographic.com. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/kingcobra/index-n.html (accessed on September 9, 2004).
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