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. Body length is 25-30 times body diameter. Dark brown color above fades into a lighter brown belly. Tail ends in a sharp spine.
Relevant scale counts: 24-30 rows of midbody scales (usually 24-26).
Mueller’s Blind Snake has a sharp contrast between the darker color above and cream belly.
Roxane’s Blind Snake is smaller, lighter in color on the sides, and has 20 midbody scale rows.
Siamese Blind Snake is smaller and only has 20-22 midbody scale rows.
Trang Blind Snake has a sharp contrast between the aquamarine color above and yellowish color below and has scale rows that don’t decrease near the ends of the body.
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.
Range: Has a broad distribution from west Indonesia and Malaysia north through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and south China and west through Burma, Bangladesh, Bhutan and India.
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.
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