Can Sea snakes breathe underwater?
Sea snakes, or Hydrophiinae, are a subfamily of elapid snakes that reside in the ocean. The elapidae family is a large family of venomous snakes, also containing cobras and mambas. So, can sea snakes breathe underwater?
How do sea snakes breathe?
The answer is… yes! In fact, sea snakes can stay underwater for up to several hours and are able to breathe underwater. Sea snakes have evolved a few evolved adaptations to help them with their underwater breathing:
- Lungs with a capacity to draw in larger volumes of air – Sea snakes have lungs that are specially adapted for underwater breathing. The interior of their lungs is filled with fluid that helps increase the amount of air they can take in at once.
- Nostrils located on the top of the head – The nostrils are positioned so that they can take in air when the snake surfaces to breathe. The nostrils close underwater to keep water out.
- Buccal pumping – if necessary, sea snakes can also use buccal pumping, a process that expels air from the lungs while taking in water, allowing them to draw extra oxygen from the air.
In conclusion, sea snakes can indeed breathe underwater. They have developed several adaptations, such as larger lungs and nostrils on the top of their heads, that allow them to stay submerged for long periods of time and effectively take in oxygen from the water.