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Shieldtail Snakes: Uropeltidae

Behavior And Reproduction

The shieldtails stay hidden underground most of the time, but many will come up to the surface after a good rain, and at least one species will then begin hunting for worms. If the snakes feel threatened, they will wiggle away while looking for some loose soil and then force the head into the ground to start tunneling. They are expert diggers and can tunnel quickly. If prodded with a stick or otherwise attacked, the snake will coil around the stick or other object and begin waving the tail end of the body. Apparently, predators are confused into thinking the tail is the head. The snake can survive an attack to the tail much better than an attack to the head, so the tail waving may save its life. It is also possible that some predators may be scared off by the tail-waving behavior.

Female shieldtail snakes give birth to baby snakes rather than laying eggs. Typically, they have two to five young at a time, with larger females giving birth to a larger number than younger mothers. Births likely occur between March and September. Scientists know little else about their behavior or reproduction.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesShieldtail Snakes: Uropeltidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Nilgiri Burrowing Snake (plectrurus Perrotetii): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, SHIELDTAIL SNAKES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS