Argyrophis diardii

diard's blind snake typhlops diardi Rajib Rudra Tariang Assam India
Diard’s Blind Snake found in India (photo by Rajib Rudra Tariang)

Diard’s Blind Snake (Argyrophis diardii)
Diard’s Blind Snake on forest floor in Bangladesh (photo by Jim Wetherall)

Diard’s Blind Snake (Typhlops diardii)
Head shot of Diard’s Blind Snake (photo by Jim Wetherall)

Diard’s Blind Snake (Argyrophis diardii)
Ventral shot of Diard’s Blind Snake (photo by Jim Wetherall)

Ugyen Chophel diard's blind snake Typhlops diardi bhutan 1
Diard’s Blind Snake in Bhutan (photo by Ugyen Chophel)

Diard’s Blind Snake Typhlops diardii
Diard’s Blind Snake dead on forest road in Tak Province (photo by Sjon Hauser)

Diard's Blind Snake Typhlops diardii
Diard’s Blind Snake dead on forest floor in Malaysia (photo by Ingomar Kiehlmann)

English name: Diard’s Blind Snake (aka “Indo-Chinese Blind Snake” or “Large Worm Snake”)
Scientific name: Argyrophis diardii (formerly Typhlops diardi)
Thai name: Ngu-din Yai Indochine

Description: To 43cm long, making it one of the largest blind snakes in Thailand. May appear to be a thick worm at first glance, but can be distinguished by its small shiny scales, visible eyes, and flicking tongue. Body length is 26-30 times body diameter. Tail ends in a sharp spine. Dark brown color above fades into a lighter brown belly.

Similar Species:
Mueller’s Blind Snake has a sharp contrast between the darker color above and cream belly.
Brahminy Blind Snake is smaller and more slender.
White-headed Blind Snake is smaller and much more slender with a pale head.
Slender Worm Snake is smaller in length and girth.
Flower’s Blind Snake is smaller with a blunt tail tip and yellow from its snout to chin.
Roxane’s Blind Snake is smaller with a yellow snout and cloaca and is lighter in color.

Blind snake species are difficult to distinguish from each other on appearance alone. More specific identifying characteristics are described in 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. They may be found on the surface after heavy rains or under humid conditions.

Place in the ecosystem: This snake helps control insect populations by eating soft-bodied subterranean insects as well as their larvae. They may be eaten by 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.

References:
Pakistan Journal of Zoology: Notes on Typhlops diardi
The IUCN Red List: Typhlops diardii
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