Thursday, May 18, 2006

Brahminy Blind Snake (Ramphotyphlops braminus)

We (Me, Chan Kwok Wai and Lim Swee Cheng) were on an open field near International Business Park on 7 May 2006 at about 4pm, when Kwok Wai lifted a small rock and found a pair of these tiny snakes. Ever since then, we realised that Brahminy Blind Snakes (Ramphotyphlops braminus), indeed, can be found on soil under rocks pretty easily. In fact, these creatures are so common in flowerpots that they are also known as Flowerpot Blind Snakes. That is how this species is being transported to all over the world, including places (e.g. Hawaii) that do not have any native snakes. According to Cox et al. (1998), This species is found throughout Thailand, Peninsula Malaysia, Singapore, Africa, the Middle East, the remainder of tropical Asia and parts of eastern temperate Asia, islands across the Pacifics, Mexico, and the United States. These snakes occur from sea level up to 1,640 m (Cox, et al., 1998).

The most interesting fact about Brahminy Blind Snakes is that it is the only known parthenogenetic snake species; all individuals are females and males are unknown (Lim & Lim, 1992; Cox, et al., 1998)! Females produce clutches of 1-7 eggs, measuring 2 x 6 mm, without fertilization; all eggs develop into females (Lim & Lee, 1989; Cox, et al., 1998).

According to Lim and Lee (1989), Brahminy Blind Snakes feed on soft-bodied insects. Lim and Lim (1992) claimed that they feed on minute soil-dwelling invertebrates. Cox et al. (1998) claimed that these snakes feed mainly on the larvae of ants and termites.

These non-venomous snakes are very common, nocturnal, and the adults can reach up to only 15 cm in length (Lim & Lee, 1989; Lim & Lim, 1992; Cox et al., 1998).







From left to right: Dorsal side of head; Left side of head; Dorsal side of body; Ventral side of body; Dorsal side of tail' Ventral side of trail

* Photographs from Mr Chan Kwok Wai and Lim Swee Cheng

REFERENCES

Cox, M. J., van Dijk, P. P., Nabhitabhata, J. & Thirakhupt, K., 1998. A photographic guide to snakes and other reptiles of Peninsula Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd, p. 12.

Lim, F. L. K. & Lee, M. T. M., 1989. Fascinating Snakes of Southeast Asia – an Introduction. Tropical Press, Kuala Lumpur, p. 30.

Lim, K. K. P. & Lim, F. L. K., 1992. A Guide To The Amphibians & Reptiles Of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre, p. 147.

14 comments:

c(o.o)c said...

Pardon the language but they are so damn adorable!!

Cherie Davis said...

We live in Florida and for the last two years, we have found them during the month of August (rainy season) in the guest suite side of our house. Eight of them last year and the first one this year, we found last evening. I know they are not poisonous, but do they bite or sting??

Chim C K said...

Not that I know of. I have handled them with no stings
or bites. They are probably as harmless as earthworms!

Kirstie Walden said...

I Found One Yesterday. It Is Almost 1 inch. (i think) And I Have No Clue What To Feed It And Where To Look. Everythin I Find Is WAY To Big For Its Mouth. An I Dont Wanna Try To Give It Somethin That Might Could Kill It First. I Wanna Keep It As A Pet. Because I've Never Liked Snakes But When I Saw And Picked It Up I Fell In Love With It. I Could Use All The Help I Can Get.
Thank You.

Anonymous said...

My nephew was bitten by one of these tiny snakes and the Doctors had to remove his pinky toe. We didn't understmd why because he was bitten on the finger.

Anonymous said...

I have leaved in Nebraska for 32 year and this is the first time I've seen them. My house is infested with the little snake and all I want to do is kill them all. Anyone found a way to kill them?

jeremy said...

10/25/08, we've been catching dozens of these in our house in Naples, FL. Can't figure out where they are coming from. They seem to emit a horrible smell when we catch them. Similar to the smell of a dish of meal worms. They also seem to leave spots all over the carpets. I've found the best way to catch them is a piece of duct tape. Or if you want a live one put a jar over the top of it and then slide a piece of paper underneath so you can right it.

Anonymous said...

OMGosh...flowerpot blind snake!!! I want one! Where can i get one of these cuties in singapore?!?

nikahmad said...

i have one.
email me at nikahmad1[at]gmail[.]com

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Vern at AimforAwesome.com said...

Excellent photos on this snake. I've never got any decent - too small and too twitchy.