Perhaps, so many printed pages, books and stories are devoted to none of the “non-existent” creatures that have not yet been recognized by science as the mysterious Great Sea Snake. From time immemorial to the present day they write about him, they say, they argue. Someone with irritation and hostility, and some with sincere faith and hope. However, science does not have conclusive evidence that giant sea snakes live in the depths of the ocean.
Sea snakes, danger to humans, symptoms after a bite, types of bites and habitats of sea snakes.
Unlike the mythical, real sea snakes are dwarfs that reach a length of 65-100 cm, less often 2-3 meters. A characteristic feature of these animals is a flattened laterally body that ends with a short tail resembling a paddle blade, set upright. All of them are poisonous, and biologists single them out into one family of more than 50 species..
Studies by toxicologists have shown that the venom of sea snakes causes the death of experimental animals as a result of stopping breathing. Moreover, before death, they had partial skeletal muscle paralysis and cramps.
Symptoms after being bitten by sea snakes.
The bite of the ocean reptiles is almost painless for a person, at the site of the lesion there are spot traces of punctures of one or two poisonous teeth, swelling appears, the skin acquires a spotty, dark red color.
The latter is associated with the release of pigment from the affected muscles. After 20-30 minutes, pain occurs, and more dangerous symptoms occur at the end of the first hour. Muscle weakness builds up, coordination of movements is disturbed, drowsiness, dry mouth, trembling, difficulty swallowing appear. The voice is lost, cold sweat appears on the skin, the pupils dilate.
Gradually, an ascending paralysis of the motor muscles begins, starting with the legs, and then capturing the muscles of the body, arms, diaphragm, resulting in respiratory arrest and death. During pathological autopsy of corpses of people who died from poisoning by sea snakes, in addition to skeletal muscle necrosis, kidney damage was observed.
A. Bram in the book “Animal Life” gives the following case of a bite of a sea snake:
“When, in 1837, the English warship Algerin was anchored in the Madras raid, the sailors caught a two-meter-long sea snake, and one of the sailors looked at and touched her until she bit him with the index finger of her right hand. Moreover, he did not pay attention to the small wound that he was sure that in the Strait of Malacca he was bitten by sea snakes and did not notice any bad consequences of this.
Half an hour after the bite, he had breakfast, dressed, and about two hours later went to the deck. Here he suddenly vomited. Soon after, the pulse began to weaken and at times disappeared completely. The pupils were dilated, but narrowed under the influence of light. Cold sweat appeared on the skin, and the facial expression became noticeably timid and more and more testified to a serious general illness.
Soon laryngeal paralysis occurred, making breathing much more difficult. The edges of the wound and the surrounding parts of the arm are swollen. The tumor then spread throughout the right side of the body, and the neck and face took on a spotty, dark purple and gray color. The doctor prescribed various medicines, the patient tried to take them, but could not do this, and only after a long hot bath did he manage to swallow the medicine, which, however, he immediately threw back again.
About 20 minutes after the bath, the seizures that the patient suffered from the very beginning intensified and the dark color spread to the whole body. Breathing became noticeably harder. Then came an unconscious state, and not even four hours had passed before a man died ”.
Types of Sea Snake Bites.
The variety of the clinical picture of poisoning, the duration of the latent period (the time elapsed from the moment of the bite to the appearance of the first symptoms of intoxication) and the strong effect of the poison of marine reptiles create difficulties for healing. There is only one consolation: snakes are not always in full force launch a formidable weapon.
As experiments have shown, it is necessary to distinguish between two types of bites. The first snake uses during the hunt, while a large amount of toxin is sacrificed. The second, the so-called protective or preventive, bite the reptile inflicts when defended. In this case, little or no poison is released. As a rule, when meeting a person, sea snakes use a protective bite.
Nucleosus possesses a neurotropic effect and is 10–50 times greater in strength than the king cobra toxin. Most often, accidents occur with swimmers who, in shallow water, step on the snake with their feet, as well as with fishermen freeing the trawl from the catch. A bite can also be obtained while working underwater in scuba gear. Often people get defeated also through negligence. The fact is that snakes are confused with harmless eel eels or pick up dead reptiles in their hands at first glance.
Where sea snakes live.
Sea snakes live in the tropical zone of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, along the Asian coast – from the Persian Gulf to the south of Japan, in all seas between India and Australia, as well as off the islands of Oceania. Isolated cases of their detection in our waters are known..
In 1873, a dead specimen of two-colored bonito was found in Posyet Bay, and in 1978, a large flat-tailed tail, which is common in the western Pacific Ocean, was caught in Peter the Great Bay. Scientists attribute these amazing findings to the 100-year-old rhythm of the warming of the Far Eastern seas. It is generally believed that sea snakes are not found in waters whose temperature is below 20 degrees.
With the exception of the two-colored bonito, all species of ocean reptiles inhabit the coastal zone. They can be found on coral reefs, in estuaries, some even up tens of kilometers penetrate upstream. Two-tone bonito – traveler. Often, drifting through the waves, it swims the Pacific Ocean from the Asian to the American coast and enters the north to the shores of Southern California.
Appearance and structural features of sea snakes.
Sea snakes have a small head and a thin bifurcated tongue, which serves as their organ of touch. The body is covered with scales. The nostrils of reptiles are placed at the very tip of the nose and are equipped with valves. Therefore, they can breathe without protruding from the water, but only with their nose out. When sea snakes dive, the valves close tightly.
Sea snakes are capable of holding their breath for short periods of time from 5 to 30 minutes, as well as longer ones – up to 6-8 hours. Reptiles breathe through the lungs. This, of course, is inconvenient. Gills would be more suitable for life in the depths. Their snakes are replaced by the mucous membrane of the mouth, richly equipped with blood vessels.
From time to time, “rinsing” the mouth with sea water, these creatures extract oxygen from it and thereby significantly increase the time spent under water. Ocean reptiles are able to plunge into the abyss up to 50 meters, occasionally they were met at depths of about 100 meters.
They feed on fish, shrimp and cephalopods. Most species hunt in the daytime – from ambush and actively. Some lead a predominantly twilight lifestyle. Animals breed without laying eggs, directly in the water they produce 2 to 18 cubs of live, ready for independent life.
The behavior of sea snakes is still much obscure. Some scientists believe that they have an evil and vile character, others believe that they have a meek, balanced disposition. From all that has been said it is obvious: the “actions” of these creatures cannot be predicted, therefore, people in the habitat of sea snakes need to be especially careful and avoid contact with them.
Based on the book Encyclopedia of Survival at Sea.