Thanks to El Niño, California beachgoers have more to worry about than shark attacks and a deluge of sewage and plastic: Now highly venomous sea snakes are washing ashore too.
On Friday, a surfer found a yellow-bellied sea snake slithering in the sand at Silver Strand beach in Ventura County, about an hour north of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reports.
It’s the furthest north along the Pacific Coast of North America that the black and yellow sea snake Pelamis platurus has ever been spotted, and the first time it’s been seen in California since 1985—which was also an El Niño year.
The snake is typically found in warm tropical waters, which, owing to this year’s El Niño conditions, California beaches now provide. The snakes don’t travel well on land, and the captured yellow-bellied snake died in transport to the local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office, according to the Times.
El Niños occur every two to seven years, disrupting winter weather across the country. Scientists have linked rising global temperatures to more severe El Niño events. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lists this year’s El Niño as one of the strongest on record—and it’s hurting more wildlife than just one scary snake.
A few miles off of San Diego, fishermen are reeling in exotic fish such as bluefin tuna, yellowtail, and dorado. Though these fish are typically found in Mexico, the four- to five-degree increase in water temperature has created a successful fishing season for Southern California, PBS reports.