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Brahminy Blind Snake

Indotyphlops braminus

Description:

Adults measure 2–4 inches long, uncommonly to 6 inches, making it the smallest known snake species. The head and tail are superficially similar as the head and neck are indistinct. Unlike other snakes, the head scales resemble the body scales. The eyes are barely discernible as small dots under the head scales. The tip of the tail has a small, pointed spur. Along the body are fourteen rows of dorsal scales. Coloration ranges from charcoal gray, silver-gray, light yellow-beige, purplish, or infrequently albino, the ventral surface more pale. Coloration of the juvenile form is similar to that of the adult. Behavior ranges from lethargic to energetic, quickly seeking the cover of soil or leaf litter to avoid light. The tiny eyes are covered with translucent scales, rendering these snakes almost entirely blind. The eyes cannot form images, but are still capable of registering light intensity.

Habitat:

This snake was found in our garden in Windwardside, at the foot of the Volcano, Mount Scenery on Saba in the Caribbean Sea.

Notes:

This species is widely thought to be a triploid parthenogenetic, all-female snake species, perhaps the only such parthenogenetic snake in the world. Females 95-100 mm or greater total length produce clutches of 1-8 viable eggs, without fertilization. However, old reports of males exist, suggesting this may be a complex of unisexual and bisexual species. Reproduction via parthenogenesis enhances the Brahminy Blindsnake’s ability to colonize new habitats because only one individual is needed to start a population and all progeny are capable of producing eggs. Hatchlings resemble adults, but are about 64 mm total length. All female and all genetically identical. Also fun fact. We had a reptile specialist come to the island and he concluded that these are the first and only spottings of the Brahmini Blind Snake on the island ever! (and this is the 4th that I have found in our garden/ or it is the same one over and over again. Not sure what this means.

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Muckpuk
Spotted by
Muckpuk

Windward Side, Saba, Caribbean Netherlands

Spotted on Jul 23, 2021
Submitted on Jan 14, 2022

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