Yellow Bellied Sea Snake Fact Sheet

Common Name:

Yellow Bellied Sea Snake

Scientific Name:

Debated: Hydrophis platurus/ Pelamis platura

Wild Status:

Least Concern


Pelagic zone


Countries off the coast of Africa, Central & Southern America, Australia, Asia



Life Span:

3.5 yrs


1.5 ft long

Cool Facts:

  • The yellow bellied sea snake can remain underwater for up to three hours between breaths
  • This species of snake is ovoviparous.
  • Like other sea snakes, the yellow- bellied sea snake is venomous. Its venom  contains neurotoxins and two other isotoxins.
  • The yellow-bellied sea snake can swim backwards and use this skill to catch fish on the surface of the ocean.
  • This species can uptake over a third of their oxygen needs through their skin as it swims along the surface.


The yellow-bellied sea snake has received its name from the pale, solid yellow coloring on it's underbelly. excluding the variations sean from specimens off the Pacific coast of costa Rica, their backs are dark brown or black. The Costa Rica specimens are solid yellow on their backs as well.  The body is laterally compressed, which helps it adapt to aquatic life. Their heads are narrow and have an elongated snout. The yellow-bellied sea snake's tail is paddle-like with a dark spotted pattern.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Reptilia Order: Squamata Suborder: Serpentes Family: Elapidae Genus: Hydrophis Species: H. platurus

Conservation & Helping:

The Yellow-bellied sea snake is not listen on the IUCN Red List and is considered to be a species of least concern.

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