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These snakes keep randomly washing up on New Zealand’s shores: Why?

A yellow-bellied snake that washed up on Northland beach is just one of many that have been arriving on New Zealand’s shores.

New Zealand is not known for its dangerous wildlife. This may be changing, however, as there have been various cases of yellow-bellied snakes washing up on shorelines in Northland.

Yes, they are venomous. Unfortunately, New Zealand also has no anti-venom antidote for the species.

Image of yellow bellied snake
Image via Australian Geographic

Unlike Australia, New Zealanders aren’t as acquainted with snakes, which could prove dangerous.

Department of Conservation specialist Clinton Duffy said: “We’re so unfamiliar with snakes in New Zealand that people either don’t recognise that they’re a snake, or don’t think they’re poisonous, or don’t know how to behave around them.”

Duffy also said people sometimes mistake them for native eels.

People have taken photos or videos of their encounters which have occurred mainly on the North Island.

Apparently, it’s not only New Zealand being visited. Sea snake species have been emerging in other unlikely countries such as Japan, South Korea and California.

There isn’t a concrete reason as to why these sea snakes are popping up in unexcepted places.

However, scientists say that rising ocean temperatures and stronger storms will make sea snakes a more common sight.

“It’s likely that with the changing temperatures, those regions might be more accommodating for sea snakes,” Vinay Udyawer, a research scientist specialising in sea snake ecology and distribution.

“So they might be [part of a wider] trend for species that couldn’t sustain population in places like New Zealand, and might now have the ability to as waters get warmer.”