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April 12, 2001

Sea Snake Turned in By Youths in Kaaawa

Honolulu - A yellow-bellied sea snake (Pelamis platurus) was found by three youths and turned in to the Kaaawa Fire Station on Tuesday (4/10). The unidentified male youths said they found the live two-foot-long sea snake on the shore near Swanzy Beach Park. They put it in a dive bag and turned it in at the nearby fire station. A firefighter called the Hawaii Department of Agriculture Plant Quarantine Branch, which sent an inspector to pick up the sea snake.

Yellow-bellied sea snakes are black and cream-colored with a flattened paddle-like tail. They usually inhabit the open Pacific Ocean but will occasionally wash up on shore, especially during stormy weather. Sea snakes are highly venomous, but are said to have poorly developed biting apparatus. Regardless, persons finding a sea snake should not touch it, even if it is on land, and should call the Department of Agriculture's PEST HOTLINE at 586-PEST(7378).

While caution is advised in handling situations involving such animals, the Department of Agriculture would like to commend the youths for their responsible actions in turning in the sea snake to authorities.

The captured sea snake is currently being held in a secured tank at the Waikiki Aquarium awaiting final disposition. Request for media photo opportunities should be directed to Joan Bennet and Associates at 531-6087.