News

Dumped hair-tie brings deadly sea snake to death's door

Kane from Australian Seabird Rescue, Ballina (reptile section) with an injured Sea Snake that washed up on the beach near Evans Head.
Kane from Australian Seabird Rescue, Ballina (reptile section) with an injured Sea Snake that washed up on the beach near Evans Head. Patrick Gorbunovs

WHEN venomous sea snake Iluka was found washed up on the beach near Evans Head surf club, it was struggling to survive with a hair tie blocking its intestine.

Luckily, some passers-by spotted the distressed snake around midday on Sunday and called Australian Seabird Rescue.

Ballina Australian Seabird Rescue general manager Kath Southwell said the organisation rescues five or six sea snakes a year.

"If we get really bad storms we might get a couple more," she said. "I'd say about 40% are from rubbish.

"Some we have in care have swallowed plastic which causes them to float."

Iluka is just one of the many local marine animals injured by rubbish and waste.

She said they rescued at least one marine animal a week from rubbish-related injuries.

"It affects all types of sea life," she said.

"We had a pelican in care recently which had a very old fishing line injury.

"The skin had grown over the fishing line, so we had to remove that very carefully."

When turtles swallow plastic it causes them to float to the surface as gases build up in their stomachs.

Their shells get burnt by the sun and they slowly starve to death when the floating gases in their stomachs prevent them from diving down for food.

And it doesn't just affect sea life.

Ms Southwell said research had proven rubbish in the ocean moves up the food chain to affect people.

"When the plastic is in sea water, after quite a few years it will start releasing toxins into our environment, making us sick," she said.

She said simple steps such as using recyclable bags, taking responsibility for rubbish on the beach and not littering could prevent a lot of the injuries to local marine wildlife.

About sea snakes

  • All sea snakes discovered so far are venomous and produce some of the most dangerous venom known
  • Adult sea snakes grow to 120-150cm with the largest growing to 3m
  • Sea snakes are usually not aggressive unless threatened
  • Iluka is a Hydrophis macdowelli or small-headed sea snake, for which there is no anti-venom.

Topics:  australian seabird rescue, editors picks




Rally 'terror' threat: Police investigate bridge fire

Images on social media of a home-made  time-delay device used to set a Kyogle bridge on fire during the Brakes Director Border Ranges Rally at the weekend

Police investigate after attempt to burn down bridge

Candidate's wife will do anything for love (and votes)

SARAH Karam has put together a video supporting her husband Ray Karam run for Ballina Mayor

WATCH: This rap video is one way to get noticed before an election

REVEALED: New takeaway shop for Goonellabah

Plans to change this vacant shop in Goonellabah Village into a takeaway shop.

It includes a sandwich bar, salad bar, coffee machine.

Latest deals and offers

Diva's sister on soliciting charge

FILE - In this May 14, 2016 file photo, Mariah Carey attends the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, in New York. Carey will appear on the Oct. 5 episode of the Fox series, \"Empire,\" the network confirmed Monday at a TV critics bi-annual press tour. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Mariah Carey's sister has been arrested on charges of prostitution.

Tom Cruise private jets his gym kit around the world

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise charters private to take his gym kit around the world

Movie behind Depp and Heard split to be released

Soon you'll be able to see the movie that ended the marriage

Bindi's boyfriend helps release huge croc

Chandler (far right) helped the jump team.

Chandler Powell helps catch Duncan the croc

Mick Jagger to pay £2.5m to the woman carrying his baby

Mick Jagger is reportedly paying millions to pregnant ballerina

Navy man Keller ready to marry a perfect stranger

Former Navy engineer Keller is a participant in season three of Married At First Sight.

Tattoos are just the surface of Married At First Sight groom.

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m