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Brahminy Blind Snake, Flower Pot Snake [NON-NATIVE]

NON-VENOMOUS

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Scientific name: Ramphotyphlops braminus (DAUDIN 1803)

* Currently accepted name

Synonym:

* scientific names used through time

  • Eryx braminus – DAUDIN 1803
  • Tortrix russelii – MERREM 1820
  • Typhlops russeli – SCHLEGEL 1839
  • Typhlops braminus – DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844
  • Argyrophis truncatus – GRAY 1845
  • Onychocephalus capensis – SMITH 1846
  • Argyrophis bramicus [sic] – KELAART 1854
  • Ophthalmidium tenue – HALLOWELL 1861
  • Typhlops (Typhlops) inconspicuus – JAN 1863
  • Typhlops (Typhlops) euproctus – BOETTGER 1882
  • Typhlops limbrickii – ANNANDALE 1906
  • Glauconia braueri – STERNFELD 1910
  • Typhlops pseudosaurus – DRYDEN & TAYLOR 1969
  • Typhlina braminus – MCDOWELL 1974
  • Ramphotyphlops braminus – NUSSBAUM 1980

Description: Average adult size is 2.5-6.5 inches (6.35-16.5 cm). Adults are small, thin, and shiny silver gray, charcoal gray, or purple. The head and tail-tip are indistinct, the neck is not narrow and the eyes are only small dot-like remnants under the scales. The tail is tipped with a tiny pointed spur. The head scales are small and similar to body scales. The belly is grayish to brown. The scales are smooth and shiny, there are 14 dorsal scale rows along the entire body. Juvenile coloration is similar to that of adults.

drawing

A. Top of the head
B. Side of the head
C. Underside of the head (chin and throat)
D. Tail

Range: The Brahminy Blind Snake is a non-native species from southeastern Asia. It was first reported in Florida in 1983, and has now been found from Key West in the Florida Keys, north throughout most of the peninsula, and west in Leon County in the panhandle. Outside of Florida, it has been widely introduced to many tropical localities and is considered the most widespread snake species in the world.

Habitat: Commonly found in urban and agricultural areas.

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Comments: HARMLESS (Non-Venomous). The Brahminy Blind Snake burrows in the soil and leaflitter, and is found under rotting logs, leaves, and trash. Most often it is found in flower beds while gardening, and on sidewalks after rain. It is believed that it was introduced into Florida in the soil of imported plants. Being moved around this way in some parts of the world has earned it the name "Flower Pot Snake." The Brahminy Blind Snake often turns up in leaflitter or garden mulch. It feeds on the eggs, larvae, and pupae of ants and termites. It lays eggs or may be live-bearing. All individuals are female and reproduce unisexually, where the eggs begin cell division without sperm from a male. Up to 8 genetically identical female offspring are produced.

Comparison with other species: None, but it is frequently mistaken for earthworms. Although both are shiny, if you look carefully you will see that earthworms are segmented (i.e., they have rings around the body) and the Brahminy Blind Snake is not segmented. Neither can the Brahminy Blind Snake stretch itself out or contract like an earthworm. Also, if you look closely you can see the Brahminy Blind Snake stick out its tongue while it is being held.

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