Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 22nd, 2009
What is happening in Bermuda?
Sea snakes are not suppose to be in this little paradise. But has there been a credible sighting in Bermuda of a species similar to the yellow-lipped sea krait, Laticauda colubrina (shown below)? No sea snakes are known to live in the Atlantic Ocean.
The American eyewitness in Bermuda – a police officer – wonders. But the island’s officials are somewhat treating the report like the fictional authorities in the movie Jaws reacted to the first sightings of a shark. They can’t quite make up their minds what to do about it.
The Bermuda Department of Parks and Conservation Services first put out this notice last Friday: “The Department apologises for the inconvenience in this matter but until the species has been identified it was felt that closing the beach was in the interests of public safety. The cooperation of the general public is appreciated at this time.”
But it didn’t last long. Jobson’s Cove, South Shore, Bermuda was reopened on Monday, July 20, 2009, after it was closed on Friday, July 17, due to the possible “sea snake” sighting.
The Department of Parks termed the sighting by a “tourist” of “an unidentified amphibious creature, possibly a snake.”
Due to the fact that no additional sightings of the suspected “snake” were reported, the closed signs were removed from the beach on Monday.
Meanwhile, at a meeting of experts and the Bermuda media on Tuesday, July 21, 2009, the authorities revealed the animal might be a sea krait – a venomous but non-aggressive reptile. But the tone was carefully skeptical, as the press was told that there “has never been a sighting in Bermuda before.”
But wait a minute. Don’t they mean no “proven” sightings? For guess what one of their experts said?
Dr. Ian Walker, curator at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, said: “The majority of reported sea snakes in Bermuda are either American eels or some variations of morays. The description the tourist gave was unusual and was enough to raise concerns.”
So, there have been “reported sea snakes” sightings before?
The current eyewitness, who keeps being identified by Bermuda spokespeople as a “tourist,” as previously mentioned, happens to be a U.S. police officer and therefore would seem to be credible in his descriptions.
Oh yes, the witness reportedly took a photograph (unpublished to date?) of the “snake.” But Walker said it is “definitively not a krait.” However, the police officer gave a separate description of an animal at the cove on a different occasion that could be a krait, according to Walker. The policeman claimed the snake he saw was 18-20 inches long with black and white stripes and a yellow head, and climbed a 10 ft cliff.
Walker said: “The public is at very little danger but be cautious. In the case of a bite seek medical attention rapidly.”