Blind Snake

This tiny and completely inoffensive snake looks and I suppose to many people, behaves, more like a worm than a reptile. However, a reptile it most certainly is - complete with forked tongue and beautiful glossy scales. The reason for such a highly polished body is that the snake spends virtually all it's life underground or at least in the loose detritus on the surface, rarely they will free roam - usually after rains - and again, most people would probably dismiss the smaller species [such as this one] as a worm escaping it's flooded chambers. Thus the tight scales make locomotion in such environments easier.

They eat ants and termites - for this reason alone, they really should be prized. And while, as I said they are harmless, they do possess one neat trick that might just startle the unwary into letting go - some have a spike in the tail. Which they use if feeling threatened.

Well, when I say spike - it felt a little ticklish - but to smaller animals or a well aimed stab delivered to a sensitive snout, it could be pretty effective. Like many snakes they will also release a pungent odour from their anal glands in an attempt to convince would be predators of their less than suitable snack appeal.

Ramphotyphlops sp

Of the eighteen species known in QLD only four have been described in TNQ - I think this is probably R.leucoproctus. I have a strong suspicion though that due to these guys being so secretive and the fact that they are rarely encountered - there could be many more species just waiting to be discovered.

This guy was not hanging around for introductions ....

I came across this snake while digging and it was a minor miracle that I didn't end up with two much smaller blind snakes - happily though, I knew instantly what he was and after getting some pics and showing Jo - he is now safely tucked away in a flower bed - that has lots and lots of little ants for him to munch on ... nom nom!

Hardly the stuff of nightmares is it?

It can be a little difficult at times to convey scale - so those are my hands in the pic. And while I'm certainly not 'little' [esp after xmas], I'm no giant either. At most I would est this little fellow to be around 180mm T.L. So all in all a lucky discovery and a great start to the week.

The Typhlopidae are a family of blind snakes. They are found mostly in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and all mainland Australia and various islands. The rostral scale overhangs the mouth to form a shovel like burrowing structure. They live underground in burrows and since they have no use for vision, their eyes are mostly vestigial. They have light-detecting black eyespots, and teeth occur in the upper jaw. The tail ends with a horn like scale. Most of these species are oviparous. Currently, 6 genera are recognized containing 203 species. source