Australia is famously home to forms of nature not found in other parts of the world. And now, sea foam has been appearing on the beaches of parts of Australia, bringing with it all manner of things, including snakes.
People are being warned to stay out of sea foam that has appeared on the beaches of northern New South Wales and Queensland in the wake of severe storms this week, with sea snakes and hazardous material hidden in it.
Storms have lashed the two states, bringing heavy rain, flooding and coastal erosion. The foam is formed by the churning of seawater with algae, salts, fats and other pollutants.
Nathan Fife, Gold Coast Lifesaving services supervisor at Surf Lifesaving Australia, told Guardian Australia the foam was not good for people’s health.
“Health-wise it’s probably not great to let your kids play in it,” he said. “Also the marine creatures that might get in it, like sea snakes.”
According to the Marine Education Society of Australasia, there are 32 species of sea snakes found around Australia. While they are venomous, the risk of death is low.
The sale of the foam is pretty impressive.
Hazel the dog rescued from sea foam in Byron Bay, Australia. Sea foam often forms when strong winds and large waves whip up the cresting waves. pic.twitter.com/KSmREu2ADs
— BBC Weather (@bbcweather) December 14, 2020
Is this ocean foam phenomenon peculiar to Australia? If so, why?