A reptile expert has warned the public not to touch a "deadly" venomous snake if they see it wash up on the shoreline after one was found on a popular beach.
An injured, adult olive-headed sea snake washed up on a beach in Torquay, but thankfully not in Devon.
Drew Godfrey, of Hervey Bay Snake Catchers, told how “alarm bells” started ringing when the serpent appeared on the beach in Queensland, Australia.
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The Mirror reported while it was not unusual to discover sea snakes washed up on the beaches of Queensland, what made it different was that it was an adult.
Rough weather at sea is often the reason why the younger snakes are thrown towards the coast.
"This has been the third since the start of the season," Mr Godfrey told 9news.com.
"Rough seas typically impact the juvenile animals but this one was an adult, which screams alarm bells. It was quite malnourished. I don't think it has eaten in months and there was something constricting it – possibly old skin from a past shedding."
He is now aiming to take the snake to Australia Zoo for assessment and treatment but he admitted having given it a swimming test he “wasn’t very optimistic”.
The reptile expert also told people to never approach snakes they may find on beaches as they are highly poisonous and touching them is also likely to injure the snake.
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"First, sea snakes are deadly venomous. Even though sea snakes generally don't bite, when injured and scared, any snake – regardless of its normal behaviour – is more likely to bite if you approach it," Godfrey said.
But he also said touching sea snakes can easily be harmful to the reptile.
"Second, sea snakes are not built to be out of the water. Their bodies are too heavy for their bones and handling a sea snake incorrectly can fatally damage the snake by separating its vertebrae," he said.
"Last reason to not pick on up or throw it back is because they are never meant to be on land. If they're on land there is some kind of problem and it will require medical assessment before being released."
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