The Maldives is a large archipelago of 1,200 beautiful coral islands in the Indian Ocean. Many of these islands are still uninhabited. So imagine how many species of animals and plants are living there!
Here we show you what hides amongst the natural sights in this beautiful holiday destination. Should you be scared of snakes in the Maldives? How many of them are dangerous? Let’s take a look!
The Lowest Country on Earth
This title was given to the Maldives because it lies at just an average of 1.5m above sea level! And maybe that’s the reason why these creatures without legs and arms like living there. They don’t have to climb or go uphill – the best kind of environment for limbless reptiles. You’ve must have heards joke about snakes not having legs. We won’t torture your ears again.
Why do snakes always measure in inches? Because they don’t have feet! Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves…..
Anyway back to serious matters. The Maldives is an ocean-locked country, and due to its size, most species are aquatic. In the ocean, you can find turtles, whales, sea snakes, dolphins, manta rays, different kinds of sharks, and overall 2,000 species of fish. That’s what makes this the country of our dreams. You will never get bored of the beautiful beaches and the beautiful wildlife! However alongside that landscape comes snakes, as we show you next.
Common Snakes in the Maldives
Even though there isn’t a lot of land-based species, a few will definitely catch your eyes. The Maldives has the flying fox, gecko, and snakes – all not-so-cuddly animals. But they are a part of this island country.
Below we show you the snakes and sea snakes in the Maldives you need to keep an eye out for. First we look at the two snakes on land you may come across, then move on to sea snakes in Maldives. Read on to be informed for your vacation and keep safe.
1. Indian Wolf Snake
You may wonder, why wolf snake? Well, you won’t like the answer.
The Indian wolf snake got its name because of its long, sharp front teeth similar to a wolf. But however scary this may sound, don’t worry. It isn’t one of the poisonous snakes in the Maldives.
How to Identify an Indian Wolf Snake
Its greyish brown body helps them to camouflage and lure prey. Some individuals are even black with thick white bands. So they are often mistaken for a common krait.
However you can distinguish them from kraits as the Indian wolf snake has a broader and flatter head and thicker bands. But the main difference is that this snake doesn’t have large hexagonal vertebral scales along its back like kraits.
What to do if you get bitten?
Indian wolf snakes are seen near houses where they hunt for geckos, frogs, skinks, and rodents. But they are not harmful to humans. Yes, they bite but only really when they are handled aggressively. So when you meet one of these snakes in the Maldives, remain calm and move slowly away from them.
We wouldn’t regard this as one of the dangerous snakes in the Maldives, but their bites will still hurt a lot, albeit they shouldn’t require any serious medical attention. Just lay still, don’t massage the wound, and remove any jewelry, especially on fingers.
2. Blind Snake
The word “snake” is definitely scarier than what the blind snake is! This tiny snake is around 1-10 cm long and is one of the smallest snakes in the Maldives. That’s exactly why it is often mistaken for an earthworm.
It has a shiny pink or grey body and smooth scales. This allows it to bury in the ground and travel through soil. Basically, any moist soil can be a home to these tiny snakes.
Is the Blind Snake Really Blind?
When the snake is still in just an egg, its body develops, but its eyes decrease in size. That is why the blind snake is blind. You can easily find out if the snake is blind by its body. You often cannot recognize the head from the tail due to the tiny eyes, which are just small patches of pigment.
Is the Blind Snake Dangerous?
The simple answer is, no. Not even a little. Many get a panic attack just hearing the word snake. But when going to the Maldives, there are far worse animals than blind snakes.
Since it’s so small, it can only eat smaller prey. Like ants, larvae, termites, or centipedes. So should a tiny bug be scared? Yes. But should a grown-up human be scared? No. The blind snake can’t even open its mouth enough to bite a person!
Sea Snakes in the Maldives: Snakes You Need to be Careful Of
There are 52 known sea snakes in the world, and all of them are very venomous. The Maldives is home to a few of them.
However, while there is only a small chance you will encounter these dangerous creatures, you should still be prepared.
Below we show you one of the most dangerous and common sea snakes in the Maldives. We show what they look like, and also explain how to avoid these animals that can, in some circumstances, deliver a deadly bite.
Yellow Bellied Sea Snake
The yellow bellied sea snake, is a common Pelagic sea snake that spends all its life underwater. Their average length is around 1m, and their tail has the shape of a paddle, enabling it to swim.
The color of Pelamis Platurus is a great recognition mark. The upper part of the body is black and the other half is bright yellow. Following the famous advice, anything with bright colors in the natural world is usually venomous, Pelamis Platurus is no an exception.
The Yellow Bellied Sea Snake: One of the Most Dangerous Sea Snakes in the Maldives
The only time you should encounter this snake is when it has drifted close to shore of or has been washed on to a beach. In that case, don’t try to pick it up because when it senses danger, it is likely to bite.
A small amount of venom is usually injected, but it is still extremely dangerous to humans. Symptoms of getting bitten by a yellow bellied sea snake include vomiting, muscle pain, stiffness, and drooping eyelids. A more serious bite can even cause total paralysis and death.
What if You Encounter a Sea Snake? Keep Calm and Slowly Swim Away
It may sound easy, but the reality isn’t always the case. The sea snakes in the Maldives are very curious but shy. They will probably swim alongside you if come across one in the sea, but they shouldn’t hurt you. That being the case, following the tips below could help avoid a bite.
Respect their space
The fact that a sea snake has swum up to you willingly doesn’t mean you have their permission to touch it. Remember, it will bite when it feels in danger. So try to give it space and move slowly away from it.
Avoid swimming away from the shore
Sea snakes are almost always found in remote areas of the ocean. Avoiding these places makes the chance of meeting a sea snake much smaller.
Onions, garlic, smoke, cinnamon
These are scents that snakes hate, and ones which may keep them away. It may be hard to see if they work on sea snakes, but you could always try eating garlic bread before swimming and snorkeling in the ocean – at least it’s tasty!