Ah, grandmas … the sweet, retired dears. They are always knitting afghans and canning mysterious fruits, baking cookies, tending their azaleas and swimming a couple of miles each day in open ocean waters, taking close up pictures of highly venomous sea snakes for science.
That’s right. Grandmas and sea snakes.
These amazing women are called “The Fantastic Grandmas” and for good reason. They are gorgeous, they are vibrant and they have done more for sea snake study in New Caledonia than any scientist.
Here’s how it happened. Researchers had seen only six sea snakes varieties between 2004 and 2012. They were convinced that there were only a couple of sea snake species in New Caledonia until 2017 when they met the Fantastic Grandmas. The grandmas were locals and extremely familiar with the area as they used the beach for recreational swimming and snorkeling. So the researchers enlisted their help.
The grandmas began taking pictures of any sea snake they came across on their excursions, and in just a little over two years they’d taken pictures of more than 140 different species of sea snake.
More information is now known about the sea snake population of New Caledonia than any other sea snake population in the world.
Curious why they would want to do such a thing? Check out their full story in this delightful video from Great Big Story.