HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – Residents in Orange County say they are still in shock after finding a rare and highly venomous snake on a beach.
The Surfrider Foundation was cleaning up Bolsa Chica State Beach when someone spotted the body of yellow-bellied sea snake.
After Googling the snake, they realized it was extremely rare and venomous.
After posting pictures of it on Facebook, the foundation was contacted by a herpetology curator at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
Experts say this is only the third time the snake has been spotted in California, but the second time this year.
“It’s unprecedented to have two yellow-bellied sea snakes show up here in California in the same year,” Greg Pauly, with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, told KABC. “In the history of this region, we only have five documented observations.”
Pauly says the snakes live off the southern tip of Baja and that El Nino is responsible for the rare sightings.
He says the snakes likely can’t find enough food and get sick, which is causing them to wash ashore.