The 27-inch venomous yellow-bellied sea snake discovered dead on the sand in Huntington Beach, Calif., last week is "incredible" and "fascinating," but does "not an invasion" make, Greg Pauly of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County tells the Los Angeles Times. Nonetheless, it's the second time in two months that one of the serpents—which sport a bright yellow underside and tail resembling a paddle—has come ashore on a Southern California beach. The first time was in Oxnard in October.
The snakes typically cruise the warm coastal waters of Africa, Asia, Australia, Central America, and the Baja Peninsula, the Orange County Register notes. But warm waters caused by El Niño may be throwing the snake off. While highly venomous, no one has ever died from this serpent's bite, Pauly tells the Times. "Their fangs are tiny and they can barely open their mouths wide enough to bite a person," he says. "So, unless you pick one up, the biggest safety concern with going to the beach is with driving there and then driving home."