Water snakes or Coral reef snakes are the only reptile species aside whales, that live most of their life in water but need air to breathe. They are the sub family of venomous Elapid snakes. These creatures are very shy and rarely seen. But, being a snake they carry their venomous character.
1. True Water snakes live entirely in the water but, Sea Kraits do come onto land for various reason like breath, drink and reproduction.
2. There are only 17 identified water snakes species in estimated 69 species that not has been identified yet. These snakes grow 3-5 feet and 8 feet sometimes. The main distinguishing feature is their tail. They have paddle like tail flaps to swim efficiently but, this tail also becomes clumsy on land. Many of us get confuse between Eels and Water snakes. The other feature that separates Eels from Water snakes is the Dorsal fin present on Eel’s body which stretches the entire length, sea snakes don’t have any fins.
3. Water snakes live in tropical or sub tropical waters in Indian and Pacific ocean. No such sea snake can be found in Atlantic Ocean or water body with salinity like the Red sea.
4. They are 6-8 million years old and evolved in the South East Asia’s Coral triangle, whereas some appeared just 2-3 million years ago.
5. Water snakes are Ovoviviparous means they carry eggs inside their body and give birth of live Young. They are the only reptile to give live birth in water. But, the Yellow lip Krait is Oviparous, they come on land to lay eggs.
6. These creatures are not like fish and don’t have gills to breathe underwater but, they can stay underwater for 30 minutes easily and some species can stay submerged for up-to 8 hours. Thanks to their skin they can extract 30% of needed oxygen from the water and also release Carbon DI Oxide in same manner.
7. They have thick skin, flat body, fish radar like tail and their nostrils get closed while underwater. All these abilities help them to achieve great depths in the ocean. They have been seen diving at depth of 800 feet, more than regular scuba divers perform.
8. They do not drink sea water but consume a huge amount while catching or eating their prey. So, they developed a special sublingual gland under the tongue which push out excess salt water from the blood stream to the mouth, then they just spit out.
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9. In ocean, you are surrounded by water but, not a single drop is available to drink. Same goes to Water snakes, they do not drink sea water. So, they come on land to find fresh water or wait to rain, while raining they drink fresh water from the surface.
10. As a snake, these creatures are also venomous. In fact their venom is almost 4 times more venomous than the Cobra. In ocean prey need to die fast and in short distance, so they have developed such toxin to help them in fast kill.