Reptiles and Amphibians of Thailand

Thailand's Snakes, Lizards, Turtles, and Frogs

Striped Blind Snake

Ramphotyphlops lineatus

This species is found in Thailand, but not within Bangkok itself
striped blind snake lined blind snake Ramphotyphlops lineatus malaysia
Striped Blind Snake in Malaysia (© Lee Chia How)

English name: Striped Blind Snake
Scientific name: Ramphotyphlops lineatus
Thai name: งูดินลายขีด (Ngu-din Lai Keet)

Description: To 52.4cm. Body of moderate girth with 10 pairs of alternating dark/light stripes. Eyes are covered with skin and invisible or barely visible. Belly is pale/cream.

Relevant scale counts: 22-23 midbody scale rows. The main scale on the snout is large for a blind snake and there is no preocular scale.

Similar Species: Mueller’s Blind Snake has a solid black dorsum rather than stripes, usually has 24-26 midbody scale rows (though rarely more or less), and has 1 preocular scale.
White-headed Blind Snake has a clearly white head going back of the eyes, no stripes, 20 midbody scale rows, and 1 preocular scale.

A Key to the Blind Snakes in Thailand can be used to tell blind snakes of the region apart.

Range: Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and southern Thailand.

Habitat: Found under the ground, under logs, and in decaying vegetation in forests up to 1400m elevation. Also can be found in plantations.

Place in the ecosystem: Likely feeds on soft-bodied insects. Would be eaten by larger snakes.

Danger to humans: Not dangerous at all.

Conservation status and threats: This snake is believed to be in trouble as the forests it relies on are being cut down for plantations and development.

Interesting facts: The photo above of the snake found in Singapore (reproduced with permission of John van Wyhe) was found dead on a trail near some of Singapore’s remaining primary forest. At 52.4cm long, it is one of the longest individual blind snakes that has been found. Dr. van Wyhe’s find was the first sighting of the species in Singapore since 1847, possibly indicative of their rarity but also highlighting how incredibly difficult the species is to find, nearly always remaining well under the surface.

References:
Ecology Asia: Lined or Striped Blind Snake
IUCN Red List: Ramphotyphlops lineatus
Rediscovery of the Lined Blind Snake in Singapore
Thai National Parks: Ramphotyphlops lineatus
Reptile Database: Ramphotyphlops lineatus
A Key to the Blind Snakes in Thailand

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