Hooked thread snake (Leptotyphlops macrorhynchus)

Also known as: hook-snouted slender blindsnake, Longnosed worm snake
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassReptilia
OrderSquamata
FamilyLeptotyphlopidae
GenusLeptotyphlops (1)
SizeMax length: 24 cm (2)

This species has yet to be classified by the IUCN.

One of the smallest snakes in the world (3), the hooked thread snake is a rarely seen, predominately subterranean species of North Africa and the Middle East (2) (4). Owing to its diminutive size, extremely slender body, and pink skin, it is often mistaken for an earthworm (3) (4). Shiny, smooth scales cover its body, enabling it to slide easily through sand and soil (5) (6). The eyes are only just visible as small black dots, while the snout is strongly hooked for burrowing, hence the common name (2) (7).

The hooked thread snake occurs in scattered locations throughout Northern Africa, across to the Arabian Peninsula and through the Middle East to Pakistan (2) (4) (8).

Found in sandy areas of dry savanna and semi-desert (7).

On account of their small size and secretive lives, most species within the Leptotyphlopidae family, including the hooked thread snake, are relatively poorly known (2) (5). The hooked thread snake burrows in sand and soil, rarely being seen at the surface, except at night, or after being washed out by heavy rain (4). Although, primarily a specialist termite feeder, this species will also feed on ants and other soft-bodied insects (2) (3) (4). Like other thread snakes, it lays eggs (5), with the clutch size ranging from two to four (2).

While the conservation status of the hooked thread snake is yet to be assessed on the IUCN Red List, there are no known major threats to this species.

There are no known conservation measures in place for the hooked thread snake.

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This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

  1. Species 2000 and ITIS Catalogue of Life (March, 2009)
    http://www.catalogueoflife.org/annual-checklist
  2. O'Shea, M. (2007) Boas and Pythons of the World. New Holland Publishers, London.
  3. Vine, P. (1996) Natural Emirates: Wildlife and Environment of the United Arab Emirates. Trident Press, London.
  4. Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (2005) The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, United Arab Emirates.
  5. Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptile and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  6. Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
  7. J. Craig Venter Institute (August, 2009)
    http://www.jcvi.org/reptiles/species.php?genus=Leptotyphlops&species=macrorhynchus
  8. Al-Sadoon, M.K. (1989) Survey of the reptilian fauna of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 1. The snake fauna of the Central Region. J. King Saud. Univ. Sci., 2: 53 - 69.