English name: Diard’s Blind Snake (aka “Indo-Chinese Blind Snake”)
Scientific name: Argyrophis diardii (forerly Typhlops diardi)
Thai name: Ngu-din Yai Indochine
Description: To 43cm long. May appear to be a thick worm at first glance, but can be distinguished by its scales, dry skin, eyes, and flicking tongue. This is one of the largest blind snakes in Thailand, both in length and girth. Body length is 26-30 times body diameter, making it less slender than other blind snakes. The eye is clearly visible. Scales are small and shiny. Tail ends in a sharp spine. Dark brown color above fades into a lighter brown belly.
Roxane’s Blind Snake has a yellow snout and cloaca and is lighter in color.
Brahminy Blind Snake is more slender with a smaller eye.
White-headed Blind Snake is much more slender with a smaller eye and a pale head.
Slender Worm Snake is smaller in length and girth.
Mueller’s Blind Snake has a sharp line of contrast between the darker color above and the cream belly.
Flower’s Blind Snake is creamy yellow from the snout to the chin and has a blunt tail tip.
Blind snake species are difficult to distinguish from each other, so if you need more specific identifying markers you should use this key to the blind snakes in Thailand.
Habitat: This burrowing snake can be found under cover in loose humid soil in a large variety of habitats, including forests, grassland, and agricultural land. Some references state that it is limited to areas over 1500 meters elevation, but that is contradicted by many records. They may be found on the surface after heavy rains.
Contribution to the ecosystem: This snake helps control insect populations by eating their larvae, as well as providing food for larger fossorial snakes and other animals.
Danger to humans: Blind snakes are harmless – they have no venom and their mouths are too small to bite a human. When uncovered or picked up they tend to respond by wiggling vigorously, emitting a small amount of smelly musk, and attempting to stab the disturber with their sharp tail tip.
Conservation status and threats: Diard’s Blind Snake has a wide distribution and can tolerate many habitats, so it is understood to be abundant, though the species is difficult to find due to its subterranean lifestyle.
Interesting facts: Diard’s Blind Snake (along with its close relative Mueller’s Blind Snake) is one of the few ovoviviparous blind snakes, meaning that it has live young (from eggs that form and come apart inside the body) rather than laying eggs. This is a trait usually seen in snakes from colder areas or aquatic habitats – it is not known why Diard’s Blind Snake exhibits the trait.
Pakistan Journal of Zoology: Notes on Typhlops diardi
Typhlops roxaneae, a new species of Thai blindsnake from the T. diardii species group, with a synopsis of the Typhlopidae of Thailand
The IUCN Red List: Typhlops diardii
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
Snakes of Thailand and their Husbandry