Beach walkers were greeted with a grisly scene on Tuesday, with an enormous snake stopping them in their tracks during their early-morning stroll.
They encountered a highly venomous stokes sea snake with a sizeable gouge out of its side on Sunshine Beach, near Noosa on the Queensland Sunshine Coast.
The walkers reported the startling find to Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7, with Stewart McKenzie telling news.com.au the animal was in noticeably poor condition when catcher, Matt, arrived.
“It was definitely unwell, it had a big injury to its side, like something had taken a chunk out of it,” Mr McKenzie said.
He was unsure if the snake, which had since been transported to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, could be saved.
The fully grown adult sea snake, estimated to be at least 10 years old, was a standard size for its species, weighing between two and three kilos and being just over a metre in length.
It was not yet known if the snake, found by walkers at about 8am, could be saved.
Its discovery however sparked a fresh warning from the snake catchers to call a rescue team immediately in the instance of finding an unwell snake on the beach.
“People need to really keep a safe distance and make sure they’re keeping their dog away, and just call a local snake catcher straight away,” Mr McKenzie said.
The organisation further warned that stranded sea snakes should never be picked up and put back in the ocean.
“If a Sea Snake is washed up on the beach, it usually means it is unwell or injured and needs assistance,” it said in a Facebook post.
“DO NOT try and pick up the sea snake and put it back in the ocean. Sea Snakes are highly venomous and should only be handled by professionals.”
Hundreds commented on the post to express their surprise at what had washed up.
“I didn’t realise sea snakes grew this large! I hope it has a happy ending,” one comment read.
“I really hope this fella will get well and released back to the sea. He is such a beauty,” someone else said.
“What a monster. Hope he’s on the mend,” a third wrote.