El Niño is bringing all kinds of fun to California.
And by fun we mean poisonous sea snakes.
For the second time in just two months, an extremely rare venomous sea snake has made a surprise appearance on Southern California’s coastline, suggesting that the abnormally warm temperatures of the local waters are attracting species that would have once given the area a miss.
A dead yellow-bellied sea snake, of a type commonly found throughout the warmer Pacific and Indian Oceans, washed up Friday along Bolsa Chica State Beach, about 30 miles south of Los Angeles, according to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
A different yellow-bellied sea snake was spotted in Oxnard, north of L.A., in late October. Experts suspect both snakes were in the region because of the warming waters brought by El Niño. The Oxnard snake died soon after it was discovered.
The Natural History Museum, whose herpetology curator, Greg Pauly, helped handle the snake at Bolsa Chica State Beach, called it an “exciting find,” noting that the species is almost never seen so far north.
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