sea foam on a beach

Sea-foam tends to conjure up peaceful or playful images in our minds, but there could be some nightmarish dangers lurking underneath.

Severe storms have washed up a copious amount of sea-foam on beaches in New South Wales and Queensland, Australia, according to The Guardian. Although the foam may look harmless, and is generally a naturally-occurring phenomenon, experts are warning that it could have many hidden dangers — including sea snakes.

“Health-wise it’s probably not great to let your kids play in it,” said Nathan Fife, Gold Coast Lifesaving services supervisor at Surf Lifesaving Australia, to The Guardian. “Also the marine creatures that might get in it, like sea snakes.”

While it’s not likely to be fatal, bites from these snakes do contain venom that would need urgent medical attention.

Despite warnings, there have been photos and video cropping up on social media of people walking along the beaches and children playing in the foam, The Guardian reported. Considering the unique wildlife in Australia, it seems a few pesky snakes aren’t enough to keep people away.

However, the sea-foam also could disguise a number of other dangers besides slithering reptiles. 

According to The Guardian, the foam could contain a number of pollutants or water underneath the foam’s surface that could cause people to fall and be swept out to sea. A video of a dog being rescued in the thick, knee-deep foam was posted on social media by BBC weather on Monday. Thankfully, the dog was saved and reunited with its owner, according to KMOV.

The foam might also hide some other debris like that could be a hazard to people nearby. “I think there was half a cow that washed up at the beach yesterday, so make sure what’s in front of you – there are trees and logs floating around, so please be careful,” Fife told The Guardian.

Andrea Romano is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @theandrearomano.

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