The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has urged the public to look out for sea snakes this winter. These snakes are spotted in low tide areas, when the temperature drops below 22°C.
Locally known as ‘Bu jinn’ or ‘Bogni’, sea snakes are venomous, but they only bite when they are provoked by humans.
EAD issues warning
In a post on social media, the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi said, sea snakes in Abu Dhabi inhabit open and shallow waters, coral reefs and beaches. Sea snakes typically move to shallow waters early in winter to breed.
The EAD further cautioned against disturbing or handling the shy creatures if they are spotted on the beach as they may not be dead, but just “sluggish”. They have difficulty moving on land so they often wait for the tide to take them back to sea.
EAD’s warning included a request to be vigilant in known feeding and breeding grounds, such as Saadiyat Island and Abu Dhabi Corniche.
What to do if you spot a sea snake in the UAE beach?
If you spot a sea snake in the UAE beach, here are the advices:
- Avoid touching or catching it.
- Keep a safe distance.
- Inform the lifeguard or relevant beach management and call Abu Dhabi Government help line on 800 555.
- Ensure that all pets and children are removed from the sea snake’s surrounding area.
What should you do if you get bitten by a sea snake in the UAE?
In the unlikely event that you get bitten by a sea snake, it is advisable to get to a doctor quickly, as venom can cause blood clots and damage the nervous system. A bite can also lead to nausea and vomiting, and, in very rare cases, it can be fatal.
The most common sea snakes in the UAE are the Arabian Gulf sea snake, the yellow-bellied sea snake and the ornate reef sea snake.
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