The Sagalla caecilian spends its life underground, using the strong, bony head to burrow through the soil. An extra pair of jaw-closing muscles are thought to hold the jaw firmly closed while burrowing, and the skin is fused to the underlying bones, to prevent it from shearing away during digging (4) (5) (6) (7). Like the related B. taitana (9), the Sagalla caecilian is likely to feed mainly on earthworms and termites, as well as other soil invertebrates. Prey is located using the acute sense of smell, aided by the tentacles, which may detect both chemical and tactile signals (2) (4) (5) (6) (7). The caecilian may lie in wait or actively hunt prey, which is seized in the strong jaws, and held fast by the inwardly curving teeth (4) (5). The Sagalla caecilian may itself fall prey to snakes, birds and driver ants, although its skin possesses poison glands which may make it unpalatable to many predators. The name ‘caecilian’ is derived from the Latin for ‘blind’, but, despite this species’ reduced eyes, it is still thought to be capable of detecting light (4) (5) (6) (7).
Little is known about courtship behaviour in caecilians, but fertilisation is internal, the male transferring sperm directly to the female (4) (5). In this species, the female then digs an underground chamber, into which around five eggs are laid. The eggs are guarded by the female, and hatch into miniature versions of the adults, without passing through a free-living larval stage (4) (7) (8). Like its close relative, B. taitana, the Sagalla caecilian is likely to show an extraordinary form of maternal care, in which the hatchlings feed on the outer layer of the female’s skin, which becomes modified, turning pale, and contains high levels of fat and other nutrients. The young even possess specialised teeth with which to take advantage of this peculiar food source (4) (8) (10). Although further details of reproduction in this species are lacking, it may, like B. taitana, breed during the short rains, the young becoming subadults around a year after hatching, and reaching maturity at about two years (8) (10).