English name: Slender Worm Snake (aka: “Large Blind Snake”, “Doi Pui Blind Snake”)
Scientific name: Typhlops porrectus
Thai name: Ngu-din Doi Pui
Description: To 28cm long. May appear to be a worm at first glance, but can be distinguished by its scales, dry skin, eyes, and flicking tongue. Slender even for a blind snake, with a body length 50-60 times greater than the body diameter. Scales are small and shiny. Has distinct eye and a sharp spine on end of tail. Body is light brown to brownish-black. Underbelly is pale brown, with snout to chin and anal area white or cream.
Similar Species: Brahminy Blind Snake has a less distinct eye and is not quite as slender. A midbody scale count might be necessary to tell them apart.
White-headed Blind Snake is usually smaller and has a less distinct eye. A scale count might be necessary to tell them apart.
Flower’s Blind Snake is creamy yellow from the snout to the chin and has a blunt tail with no sharp spine.
Diard’s Blind Snake is longer and more robust, but scale counts might be necessary for a definitive identification.
Mueller’s Blind Snake is larger and has a cream-to-white belly.
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: Is found in forests, parks, and agricultural areas. Usually found under rotting logs. It likely comes to the surface sometimes during humid/rainy nights, like other blind snakes.
Contribution to the ecosystem: This snake helps control insect populations by feeding on insect larvae and soft-bodied insects, as well as other soft-bodied arthropods. It provides food for larger fossorial snakes.
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: No known conservation issues.
Interesting facts: With their subterranean lifestyle, small size, lack of features, and uniform coloration, blind snake species can be difficult to locate and identify. This can lead to very different range distributions being listed for different species, depending on the source. While some sources list the Slender Worm Snake as only occurring in South Asia, Burma, and northern Thailand, or sometimes not even occurring in Thailand at all, the Thailand checklist by Nabhitabhata et al. noted several records from the Bangkok area.
Siamensis.org: Doi Pui Blind Snake
Sri Lanka Reptile: Stoliczka’s Slender Blind Snake
The Reptile Database: Typhlops porrectus
Michael Cota, personal communication.
Chulalongkorn University: A Key to the Blind Snakes in Thailand
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