Indotyphlops braminus, commonly known as the brahminy blind snake and other names, is a nonvenomous blind snake species found mostly in Africa and Asia, but has been introduced in many other parts of the world. They are completely fossorial (i.e., burrowing) animals, with habits and appearance similar to earthworms, for which they are often mistaken, although close examination reveals tiny scales rather than the annular segments characteristic of true earthworms. The specific name is a latinized form of the word Brahmin, which is a caste among Hindus. No subspecies are currently recognized.
Adults are small and thin, typically 6.35 -16.5 cm (2½ to 6½ inches) in length. The head and tail-tip look much the same, with no narrowing of the neck. The rudimentary eyes appear only as a pair of small dots under the head scales. The tip of the tail ends with a tiny, pointed spur. The head scales are small and resemble those on the body. Twenty rows of dorsal scales occur along the entire body. The coloration of the adults varies from shiny silver gray to charcoal gray or purple. The venter is grayish to brown. Juveniles are colored much the same as the adults.
I. braminus is variously known as brahminy blind snake (or brahminy blindsnake), flowerpot snake, common blind snake, island blind snake, and Hawaiian blind snake. The moniker "flowerpot snake" derives from the snake's incidental introduction to various parts of the world through the plant trade.
In Africa, it has been reported in Senegal, Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Somalia, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa (an isolated colony in Cape Town, also about eight have been found in Lephalale, Limpopo Province at the Medupi Power Station during construction), Madagascar, the Comoro Islands, Mauritius, the Mascarene Islands and the Seychelles.
In Asia, it occurs on Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Pakistan, Nepal, mainland India, the Maldives, the Lakshadweep Islands, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Andaman Islands, the Nicobar Islands, Myanmar, Singapore, the Malay Peninsula, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Hainan, southern China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawashima and Miyakoshima.
In Maritime Southeast Asia, it occurs on Sumatra and nearby islands (the Riao Archipelago, Bangka, Billiton and Nias), Borneo, Sulawesi, the Philippines, Butung, Salajar, Ternate, Halmahera, Buru, Ceram, Ambon, Saparua, Java, Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Madura, Flores, Lomblen, Sumba, Timor, East Timor, Kai Island, the Aru Islands, New Guinea (Western Papua and Papua New Guinea), New Britain, and Bougainville Island.
Usually, they occur in urban and agricultural areas. These snakes live under ground in ant and termite nests. They are also found under logs, moist leaves, and humus in wet forest, dry jungle, and even city gardens. The distribution and survival of this group of snakes directly reflect soil humidity and temperature.
Their diet consists of the larvae, eggs, and pupae of ants and termites.
This species is parthenogenetic and all specimens collected so far have been female. They lay eggs or may bear live young. Up to eight offspring are produced - all female and all genetically identical.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Indotyphlops braminus.|
- Ramphotyphlops braminus at the Reptarium.cz Reptile Database. Accessed 30 August 2007.
- Image of Ramphotyphlops braminus at the Institute of Toxicology and Genetics. Accessed 30 August 2007.
- Ramphotyphlops braminus at Snakes of Japan. Accessed 30 August 2007.
- Ramphotyphlops braminus at WildHerps.com. Accessed 30 August 2007.
- R. braminus at ThailandSnakes.com. Accessed 22 December 2014.