Written By Carla Harris
Against all odds, an invasive Indonesian sea snake joined gamblers at SkyCity Casino, engaging them in a potentially deadly game of chance that they had no intention of playing.
Shortly after midnight on Sunday, October 19th, security at the Darwin, Australia seaside casino phoned a local snake catcher, reporting that a 1.3 metre yellow-lipped banded sea krait had wandered onto the premises. While contacting the snake professional, the SkyCity staff acted quickly to protect patrons. When authorities arrived on the scene, they found the snake safely confined in a lunch bag.
While hastily attained, the ad-hoc paper prison was more than enough security to hold the banded sea krait. Although its venom ranks among the most poisonous in the world and its fangs are as long as a death adder’s, the snake itself is so submissive and docile that humans are rarely bitten. Even on the chaotic and threatening casino floor, the banded sea krait will maintain what scientists have called “a really good personality.”
Like many tourists, the snake travelled quite a long way to pay its visit to SkyCity. Native to Samoa, Papua New Guinea, South India, and Japan, the banded sea krait is believed to have travelled to Australia by riding ocean currents and tides. According to environmental scientist expert Mick Guinea, Australian voyages of this kind may be a rising trend among the species. “It’s very likely they could be naturally migrating,” he said. “They have a very high range of habitats, and it could be that they are expanding this range.” The recent SkyCity visitor was the second banded sea krait to be found within Darwin city limits.