HUNTINGTON BEACH ( — A venomous snake rare to Southern California was found in Huntington Beach earlier this month.

The yellow-bellied sea snake was found by the Huntington Beach Surfrider Foundation chapter during a beach clean-up.

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But it wasn’t until a week later that the finding was turned over to herpetologists. (The snake sat in a refrigerator until Tony Soriano and fellow Surfrider volunteers realized they had a rare find on their hands).

“We started looking at some past records and said, ‘Well we have something here,'” Soriano said.

Yellow-bellied sea snakes live in tropical climates, but a few are believed to have migrated to Southern California this year due to warmer ocean temperatures from El Nino.

In October, a two-foot snake was found in Ventura County.

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The snakes are potentially deadly, but many people who have been bitten have survived.

Herpetologist Greg Pauly said anyone who finds a specimen should take a photo and consider themselves lucky to get a glimpse at a rare visitor to the area.

“They should absolutely be thrilled that they’re one of the few people who have ever seen this species in Southern California,” he said.


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