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Circle Snake
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Illustration by Lisa Gardiner

Sea snakes search for home!
News story originally written on October 4, 2002

Plans to move sea snakes between Pacific islands might not work because some snakes have a natural desire to go home!

The sea snakes live in shallow water next to Pacific Ocean islands. People have been fishing for the snakes too much and now there are no more in the shallow water next to some islands. To solve this problem, some snakes will be moved from places where there are many snakes to places where there are none.

However, the snakes might not want to move! Scientists say certain types of sea snakes have an instinct to always go back home. They have homing behavior, which means that they can find their way over long distances, and so they could get back to their home island.

Other animals have homing behavior too, such as crocodiles, sea turtles, whales and homing pigeons. Some can find their way because they remember the landmarks they must pass. Others have a special ability to find specific locations, even without landmarks. Scientists believe these animals might be using the positions of stars or the Earth’s magnetic field to point them in the right direction.


Last modified October 9, 2002 by Lisa Gardiner.

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