Like most other sea snakes, the horned sea snake is highly venomous (2) (3) (4), immobilising its prey by injecting venom through the short, fixed, hollow fangs located at the front of its mouth (4) (7). Although the horned sea snake has one of the most toxic venoms of all sea snakes (2) (9), no bites to humans have been documented (2).
The horned sea snake has quite a specialised diet, feeding mainly on gobies (Gobiidae species) and other small fish (2) (4) (5) (8) (10). Younger individuals may also eat shrimps, switching to fish as they get older (2). Usually most active at night (4) (5), the horned sea snake actively hunts for food by searching holes, burrows and crevices for prey (1) (2) (5) (7), which it swallows head first (5).
Like other sea snakes, the horned sea snake is able to avoid accumulating excess salt from its marine environment by excreting it using a specialised gland under the tongue. To rid themselves of encrusting algae and barnacles, sea snakes shed their skin more often than other snakes, about once every two to six weeks (5).
All sea snakes give birth to live young rather than laying eggs (2) (4) (7) (8). The female horned sea snake gives birth to up to ten young at a time, after a gestation period of about six to seven months. This species is thought to give birth every year, with births recorded between March and June in northern Australia. Other aspects of the horned sea snake’s biology, such as its lifespan and the age at which it matures, are currently unknown (5).