Friday, February 09, 2007

Are these the sea snakes in Survivor 14?

from w
In Fiji there are sea snakes or sea kraits and I have only seen them twice:
once several were sunning themselves on rocks in a quiet location in Vorovoro Island, and the day our family visited Nukutatava Beach after resolving a land dispute that gave us back access to our tribal land, and two were curled around fallen coconut trunks in the shallows. Peceli said this was a sure sign of approval of our winning our land back.

A Hacking Family website that includes descriptions of this kind of sea snake also has descriptions of other Fiji creatures such as the iguana.

They write as follows:
Air-breathing sea snakes are common in Tonga and Fiji. The Banded Sea Krait has a distinctive black head and black and white bands and flat tail (adapted for swimming). It's often seen on the reefs, but can also be found along the coasts, on the rocky shores. The sea snake photographed here has a yellow and black head, and is also called a sea krait, but I don't know its species. Most sea snakes come ashore in freshwater inlets and give birth to live young on land. Although these snakes have a toxin many times more deadly than any land snakes they are very docile in the sea (some divers handle them, but not us!) and their mouths are so small they cannot get purchase on anything much bigger than a small finger. They also only eject venom when feeding or under great duress. We have had one slither up into our dinghy and we used the boat hook to fling it out, not wanting to find out the extent of the creature’s definition of “great duress”! A week later Sue was standing on the sugar-scoop working on the dinghy and felt something gently rubbing her foot. Freak out! It was on the deck, under the ladder! The flash picture scared it back into the water!


Anonymous said...

Yes! That's the snake!

Thank you for all the information, Wendy. :)

The link (below) is from a commercial for next week's Survivor, Episode 2, entitled, ""Snakes Are Misunderstood. We have an understanding."

(Blog didn't accept html so copy/paste the url)

Macadamia Nut

Anonymous said...

Wendy, I found some additional images of Survivor's snakes on I think I see a yellowish head in the first image:
Macadamia Nut

Anonymous said...

I gave credit to the site that captured and hosted the photos of the snakes, but as Wendy said earlier,

"There are several websites now with stuff about episode one, but if you don't live in North America, you may not want to know who loses, etc".

nzm said...

It's called a dadakalaci (darndark-ah-la-thee) in Fijian.

There used to be really big ones all over the islands in the bay where the Tradewinds Hotel was in Lami, Suva. My father said that they came ashore there to breed.

As a kid, I remember one poking its head out of the water to hiss at me as I walked along the sea wall at the Tradewinds. It's the first and only time that I ever saw aggression from them. I chucked a stone at it and it disappeared!

We recently found one washed up on the beach in Dubai - blogged about it here.

I thought that I had found one in Mauritius in April last year, and followed it for ages waiting for it to surface and breathe. Then it suddenly went into a tiny hole in the sand and disppeared. I was somewhat confused, as it had held its breath for at least 15 mins and then went into a hole without surfacing!

On examining my photos later, I discovered that what I had been following was an eel with the same markings as the sea krait. What gave it away was that the eel had a dorsal fin running down the top of its body, and it had a different texture to its skin - more furry than scaly.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Thanks Macadamia Nut - I looked up the first link and I'll check out the others soon. Sea snakes are certainly a good gimmick for the Survivor story-line.
Yes, I remember you posting that picture from Dubai. Did you live in the Lami area when you lived in Suva? By the way, did you go to school with the Kennard girls? Barbara and Christine, I think their names were. Father English, an architect, and mother from the Stinson family. I used to go to their house in Tamavua and play their grand piano and teach Christine to play. I wonder where they all are these days?

Anonymous said...

I am averse to all things that look like snakes. How about those eels? I've seen some that are as huge (in thickness) as one's thigh ....... a Fijian thigh I meant and that's huge! Oilei! They have some really big ones at Vaturu Dam ..... and the people of Nadi and Lautoka are drinking the water from there. Yuck! As for those that eat them, I'd rather made do with vegetables.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

No wonder they made the Anaconda films in Fiji - in the Pacific Harbour and up the Navua river region I expect.
Now I was forced to change to beta. They just wouldn't allow me to continue as I happily was doing. I do NOT like being told what to do, but I did this time....

nzm said...

Wendy: We lived in Duncan Road which was above Albert Park (and Nawela Hostel where my maternal grandmother was the matron), and our last 5 years in Fiji were in Stirling Place, Lami.

Can't remember the Kennard girls. What age would they have been, and what year did you teach them? I went to Suva Infant School, Veiutu Primary and then Suva Grammar. We left Fiji in 1976 when I was 15.

My father worked with Peter Stinson, and of course, everyone knew Charles and Molly - the parents! Charles was Minister of Finance for Ratu Mara's goverment, amd I think a former mayor of Suva too.

My aunt was good friends with Peter's sister - Jeanette. She died in Sydney (cancer) a few years back. She had her 15 mins of fame in the press, pictures cavorting on Vomo Island with Prince Charles!

A lot of kids from Fiji went to boarding schools in Australia and NZ, and because of this, we never got to mix with them. It must have been hell for them to come back to Fiji during the holidays and have no friends to hang out with - they just weren't in the local schoolkids' social circles.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Thanks for your reply nzm. You are too young to have gone to school with the Kennard girls. They were teenagers in the 60s. I know Nawela. I stayed there for two weeks when I first went to Fiji to teach. Then I went to stay at Navuso with Dorothy Inglis (later Rika) and eventually settled into a flat in Samabula. A long, long time ago.
Jeanette - yes, that was her fifteen minutes of fame, kissing Prince Charles on the beach!

Anonymous said...

"Jeanette - yes, that was her fifteen minutes of fame, kissing Prince Charles on the beach!"

I remember seeing the photos in the press. It was a sweet kiss. :)

Macadamia Nut

Julie Oakley said...

We once holidayed on an island that was covered in dadakalaci. My brother (at the time about 4) thought that it would be a good idea to offer holidays to businessmen on the island. Then there should be competitions held to see how many of the snakes the men could catch. The man who caught the most would get a small prize and the snakes would then be used to make snakeskin belts. Little wonder that he's turned out to be the one who's made the most money out of us all!

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

There are lots of comments when I post about seasnakes, toads, etc. but no-one comments on the political posts!
Which island was it, do you remember, Julie?
When you lived in Labasa, was it at Bulileka? Further up that road is the area that copped so much flood damage, a place called Vaturova. I've never been there but I guess it's where there are several streams feeding into the Qawa River.

Anonymous said...

What did the Sea Snake spit out tonight?

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