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Early Blind Snakes: Anomalepididae

Lesser Blind Snake (liotyphlops Ternetzii): Species Account

Physical characteristics: One of the larger members of the family, lesser blind snake adults can grow to more than 12 inches (31 centimeters) in length. It is a thin, black, wormlike snake with white on its head. Its shiny body is covered with small scales that are all about the same size. It has tiny eyes and a small mouth that opens on the bottom of the head rather than in front like the mouths in most other snakes. Its body is tube-shaped and ends with a short spine-tipped tail. Its skeleton includes bits of hip bones that are leftover reminders of its ancient ancestors, which had legs.

One of the larger members of the family, lesser blind snake adults can grow to more than 12 inches (31 centimeters) in length. (Illustration by Emily Damstra. Reproduced by permission.)

Geographic range: The lesser blind snake lives in Central and South America.

Habitat: This species spends most of its time underground, beneath rocks or logs, or in other hiding places.

Diet: They eat ant eggs, larvae, and pupae. The larvae and pupae are the life stages between the egg and the adult ant. They may also eat other insects.

Behavior and reproduction: Scientists know almost nothing about their behavior and reproduction. They suspect, however, that these snakes are active at night throughout the year and that they lay eggs.

Lesser blind snakes and people: Lesser blind snakes and people rarely encounter one another.

Conservation status: The species is not listed as endangered or threatened, but scientists have little information about their numbers in the wild. ∎



Brazaitis, P., and M. Watanabe. Snakes of the World. New York: Crescent Books, 1992.

Greene, Harry W. Snakes: The Evolution of Mystery in Nature. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

McDiarmid, Roy W., Jonathan A. Campbell, and T'Shaka A. Touré. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Vol. 1. Washington, DC: Herpetologists' League, 1999.

Mehrtens, John M. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishing. 1987.

Peters, James A., and Braulio R. Orejas-Miranda. Catalogue of the Neotropical Squamata. Vol. 1, Snakes. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1970.

Taylor, Barbara. Snakes. New York: Lorenz: 1998.

Web sites

"Blind snake (Typhlopidae)." MavicaNET. http://www.mavicanet.ru/directory/eng/24710.html (accessed on October 5, 2004).

"Blindsnakes (Infraorder Scolecophidia)." Singapore Zoological Gardens. http://www.szgdocent.org/cc/c-blind.htm (accessed on September 29, 2004).

"Family Anomalepidae (Dawn Blind Snakes)." EMBL Reptile Database. http://www.embl-heidelberg.de/uetz/families/Anomalepidae.html (accessed on October 5, 2004).

"Superfamiliy Typhlopoidea (blind snakes)." The University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/pictures/Typhlopoidea.html (accessed on October 5, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesEarly Blind Snakes: Anomalepididae - Physical Characteristics, Geographic Range, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Lesser Blind Snake (liotyphlops Ternetzii): Species Account - DIET, EARLY BLIND SNAKES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS