sea eagle

The Sea Eagle



fierce venom leave off
hunt band (2) scuba diving
coast chunk limestone
host placid play host
fool fooled come ashore
breed venom competition
mate potent sharp (2)
lung stretch face down
keen breathe spend time
belly armed vulnerable
vision surface predator
gill abduct perfect (2)
grab snatch manage (2)
prize midair fight back
inject victim potential
talon enemy creature
eaglet length






The potent venom in this banded sea snake can kill a scuba diver. So most underwater predator leave snake off their daily menus.

Their real danger comes from the sky.

Snake Island off the coast of Malaysia.

This little chunk of limestone plays host to hundreds of sea snakes. It’s placid right now.

But don’t be fooled: these snakes have come ashore to breed. And tonight, the competition on this island for potential mates will be fierce.

Sea snakes usually spend most of their time in water. But they don’t have gills; their lungs stretch almost the length of their entire bodies.

To fill them, they have to swim to the surface to breath, and that means they’re vulnerable.

This white-bellied sea eagle has young to feed, so it’s on the hunt. Armed with keen vision and sharp talons, the eagle has perfected the “snatch-and-grab”.

And sea snake is one of her favorite foods.

But this snake isn’t about to play the victim. As the eagle flies towards the nest with her prize, the snake starts to fight back. Even in midair, he can bite. If he manages to inject his venom, he could kill his abductor.

But biting an enemy in midair isn’t easy, especially for a creature that spends most of its time in the water.

For this snake, it’s too little, too late — especially when facing down the hungry eaglets.

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1. The banded sea snake is very dangerous. Yes or no? Why is it very dangerous?

2. Should tourists visit Snake Island?

3. Can the sea snakes breathe underwater like fish?

4. The white-bellied sea eagle likes to hunt fish. Is this entirely true, mostly true, yes and no, sometimes, mostly false, or completely false? How does it catch sea snakes?

5. Can the sea snake hide underwater from the sea eagle?

6. Is it perfectly safe for the sea eagle to hunt and capture sea snakes? What might happen?

7. The sea eagle eats the sea snake all by itself. Is this correct or incorrect?


A. Are there islands in your country?

B. Have you seen a snake? Are there snakes where you live? What do they look like? Are they venomous or non-venomous?

C. I sometimes see eagles or hawks soaring in the sky. Yes or no?

D. What do people think of snakes?

E. What do people think of eagles?

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