An El Nino weather pattern causing warmer ocean temperatures is being blamed for a venomous sea snake washing ashore on a Southern California beach on Friday.
A 2-foot-long yellow-bellied sea snake was found on the sand at Silver Strand Beach in Oxnard in Ventura County but died a short time later, according to the environmental group Heal the Bay. The reptile hasn’t been seen in Southern California for more than 30 years.
The black-and-yellow snake is more common in the waters near Baja California. Warmer ocean temperatures could have enticed the creature to swim north in order to find small fish and eels.
Experts say the highly venomous snake is unlikely to attack unless grabbed or attacked.
The Los Angeles Times reports the body was sent to the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, where it was examined Saturday and samples were taken for DNA analysis.
The snake can be found in waters the coasts of Africa, Asia and Australia in addition to Mexico.
The reptile was last seen in San Clemente in 1983 during an El Nino.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.