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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2020

 
 
     
   
   

 

   
   
 
Blind Snake
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


Fig 3

 

 

 

Family : TYPHLOPIDAE
Species : Typhlops sp. / Ramphotyphlops sp.
Specimen Size : 55 cm

There are reckoned to be at least 11 species of blind snake in Papua New Guinea, though doubtless the true species count is much greater. These are secretive, burrowing snakes which rarely come to the surface unless disturbed by earthworks or heavy rain.

Blind snakes are instantly recognisable by their smooth, cylindrical profile, short tail, small head and tiny eyes : all features which have evolved to suit their burrowing habits. They are not totally blind, however, and are probably able to distinguish between light and dark. Blind snakes feed mainly on the soft larvae and eggs of ants and termites.

It is not possible to identify the species shown here with any certainty - it could be Typhlops depressiceps, T. mcdowell, Ramphotyphlops angusticeps or R. multilineatus (Van Wallach, pers. comm.). Its patterning and colour is quite different, however, and it may represent an undescribed species - one of many likely to be lurking somewhere in the forests of New Guinea.

Blind snakes are distributed throughout PNG.


Figs 1 to 3 : Measuring 55 cm in length, this blind snake was found close to primary forest in the Southern Highlands Province of PNG, at an elevation of 710 metres.


References : H6