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Rena dulcis, also known commonly as the Texas blind snake, the Texas slender blind snake, or the Texas threadsnake, is a species of snake in the family Leptotyphlopidae. The species is endemic to the Southwestern United States and adjacent northern Mexico. Three subspecies are currently recognized, including the nominate subspecies described here.
The Texas blind snake appears much like a shiny earthworm. It is pinkish-brown (puce) in color with a deep sheen to its scales. It appears not to be segmented. The eyes are no more than two dark dots under the head scales. The mouth is small and set in an underbite.
Adults can grow to approximately 27 cm (11 in) in total length, including the tail.
The Texas blind snake spends the vast majority of its time buried in loose soil, only emerging to feed or when it rains and its habitat floods with water. It is often found after spring rains and mistaken for an earthworm. If handled it usually squirms around and tries to poke the tip of its tail into the handler. This is a completely harmless maneuver and likely serves as a distractive measure. The mouth is far too small to effectively bite a human being.
Common names for R. dulcis include the following: burrowing snake, eastern worm snake, plains blind snake, Texas blind snake, Texas Rena, Texas slender blind snake, Texas threadsnake, Texas worm snake, worm snake.
R. dulcis is found in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. In the USA it occurs in southwestern Kansas, western Oklahoma including the panhandle, central and southern Texas, west through southern New Mexico to southeastern Arizona. In northern Mexico it has been reported in Chihuahua, Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Veracruz, Querétaro, Hidalgo, and Puebla.
Gauging wild blind snake populations is virtually impossible due to their secretive nature. However, like many other native Texas species, R. dulcis is known to be detrimentally affected by the red imported fire ant.
The following three subspecies are recognized as being valid.
- Rena dulcis dulcis Baird & Girard, 1853
- Rena dulcis rubellum (Garman, 1884)
- Rena dulcis supraorbicularis (W. Tanner, 1985)
- List of leptotyphlopid species and subspecies.
- Leptotyphlopidae by common name.
- Leptotyphlopidae by taxonomic synonyms.
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