AP Photo/Reed Saxon

It’s probably El Niño’s fault.

The yellow bellied sea snake usually lives its entire life in the ocean, but unfortunately, we live in unusual times. The serpent was seen at least twice last week in Oxnard, California—a city just north of Los Angeles County’s famous beachside locale, Malibu.

Rising ocean temperatures and the normal cyclical warming of the Pacific Ocean—known as El Niño—are thought to be driving the snakes to new areas, according to Heal the Bay, a non-profit environmental advocacy group.

Heal the Bay posted this information on its Facebook page.

The group says this species of snake hasn’t been reported in California since 1980 (during another El Niño period). After Heal the Bay posted information about the snake on its Facebook page, others stepped forward to report their own sightings around the area in the comments section of the post.

Pelamis platura, as the creature is scientifically identified, typically inhabits warm waters. Here’s a handy map from the IUCN Red List, showing in orange where the serpent usually lives.

It is unclear if the two reported sightings were of the same snake or different snakes.

The snake from the second sighting was transported to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s office nearby and died soon after, according to the Los Angeles Times.

This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic partner site.

More from Quartz:

Older People Are More Likely to Pay for Apple Music

Russia and Europe Are Working Together to Plan a Permanent Base on the Moon

In Tanzania, You Can Now Get Your Birth Certificate By Mobile Phone

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Homes in Amsterdam are pictured.
    Equity

    Amsterdam's Plan: If You Buy a Newly Built House, You Can't Rent It Out

    In an effort to make housing more affordable, the Dutch capital is crafting a law that says anyone who buys a newly built home must live in it themselves.

  2. Equity

    How Poor Americans Get Exploited by Their Landlords

    American landlords derive more profit from renters in low-income neighborhoods, researchers Matthew Desmond and Nathan Wilmers find.

  3. Transportation

    China's 50-Lane Traffic Jam Is Every Commuter's Worst Nightmare

    What happens when a checkpoint merges 50 lanes down to 20.

  4. Equity

    Why Can’t We Close the Racial Wealth Gap?

    A new study says that income inequality, not historic factors, feeds the present-day gulf in wealth between white and black households.

  5. Design

    Cities Deserve Better Than These Thomas Heatherwick Gimmicks

    The “Vessel” at New York’s Hudson Yards—like so many of his designs—look as if the dystopian world of 1984 has been given a precious makeover.