Argyrophis diardii

diard's blind snake Typhlops Argyrophis diardii bangladesh งูดินใหญอินโดจีน Ngu-din Yai Indochine
Diard’s Blind Snake in Bangladesh (© Scott Trageser)

English name: Diard’s Blind Snake (aka “Indo-Chinese Blind Snake” or “Large Worm Snake”)
Scientific name: Argyrophis diardii (formerly Typhlops diardi)
Thai name: งูดินใหญอินโดจีน (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 25-30 times body diameter and there are 24-30 rows of midbody scales. 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 much smaller and more slender.
White-headed Blind Snake is much smaller and more slender with a white head.
Slender Worm Snake is much smaller in length and girth.
Flower’s Blind Snake is smaller with a blunt tail tip and has 18 midbody scale rows.
Roxane’s Blind Snake is smaller, lighter in color on the sides with a yellow snout, and has 20 midbody scale rows.

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