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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Yellow-lipped Sea Krait Laticauda Colubrina

This species is the most widespread of the sea kraits—a group of four closely related species that lay eggs on land, instead of giving birth at sea. It has a pale blue body, marked with eye-catching dark blue rings, and distinctive yellow lips, which give it its common name. The yellow-lipped sea krait feeds on fish in shallow water, and although it has highly potent venom, it presents very little danger to humans because it is not aggressive and even when handled it rarely bites.

Unlike many other marine snakes, sea kraits have large ventral scales that give them good traction when they crawl, allowing them to move around comfortably on land. During the breeding season, they come ashore in large numbers to mate and lay clutches of up to 20 eggs. Once they have hatched, the young make their way to the shallows, before dispersing along coasts and out to sea.

Yellow-lipped Sea Kraitzoom image
  • Order Squamata
  • Length 3–10 ft (1–3 m)
  • Weight Up to 11 lb (5 kg)
  • Habitat Coral reefs, mangrove swamps, estuaries
  • Distribution Eastern Indian Ocean and southwestern Pacific
Yellow-lipped Sea Krait habitat mapzoom image