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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Lined or Striped Blind Snake

Species : Ramphotyphlops lineatus
Maximum Length : 52.4 cm

The Lined Blind Snake (or Striped Blind Snake) is one of the largest species of the genus Ramphotyphlops. A specimen found in Singapore in 2019 measured 52.4 cm total length (of which the tail comprised 0.7 cm).

This rarely seen snake inhabits lowland and lower montane forest, up to elevations of around 1400 metres.

As with other blind snakes, this is a highly secretive, fossorial or burrowing species rarely seen on the ground surface.

Its body is relatively slender, and is rounded in cross-section. Its head is indistinct from the neck, and has a blunt snout: this allows for easier burrowing in firm soil.

Different scale rows are alternately pale (cream, light brown or yellowish) or dark (brown or black). The underside is pale (yellowish or cream). The front part of the head may be pale.

Reptile Database list the range of this species as Thailand, West Malaysia (i.e. Peninsular Malaysia), Singapore and Indonesia (Nias, Sumatra, Java, Borneo). Reptile Database further comments on the distribution of this species: "not in Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) fide BainN & Hurley 2011. Not listed for China by Zhao 2006".

In 2019 the species was rediscovered along a forested biking trail in Singapore, after having not been found for 172 years (Law et al, 2019).

Fig 1 : Example from a lowland forest trail at Gunung Lambak, Johor, Peninsular Malaysia. The tail is at the right of the picture, and the head at left-centre.

Fig 2 : Anterior part of the body: the head can be seen in the centre of this cropped image, with the snout pushing downwards into the soil.

Fig 3 : Close-up of the blunt tail, which bears a short spine.

All photos thanks to Andie Ang.

References : H12

Reptile Database

Law Ing Sind, Rachel Seah & John van Wyhe (2019). Rediscovery of the lined blind snake in Singapore. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2019: 133 - 134. National University of Singapore. 
[link to pdf]


Fig 1
ゥ  Andie Ang
Fig 2
ゥ  Andie Ang
Fig 3
ゥ  Andie Ang