Eagle Takes Down Super-Venomous Snake

Sea snakes are unbelievably venomous. Some of the most venomous snakes are swimmers, although they actually rarely bite humans due to their docile nature. This knowledge goes out the window when you glimpse one: having seen one myself whilst scuba diving in Thailand, the sight of it swimming around was enough to get the adrenaline pumping and the words “WHERE’S THE BOAT WHERE’S THE BOAT” dominating my thoughts.

After grazing my foot on the coral during my pathetic thrashing, I made it back to the boat without further injury (obviously — as we found out earlier, they hardly ever bite humans).

Banded sea snake. Image by Jens Peterson

However, some animals go out of their way to find these snakes. One of these mad animals is the white-bellied sea eagle, which actually eats them.

Although sea snakes are marine animals and spend most of their time under the water, they have lungs and need to surface in order to breathe for their all-important oxygen. The white-bellied sea eagle uses this to its advantage. It waits until the snake is at the surface, and then it pounces.

Mdk572, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The snake is not finished off quite yet. Even in mid-air, the snake is extremely dangerous, and if it manages to land a bite on the eagle, that could be it for the bird of prey. However in this scenario everything seems to work out for the eagle, and the chick back at the nest gets a (yummy?) meal.

Watch this encounter: