Sunday, May 16, 2010

An even smaller snake?

I had no idea they would just get smaller.  Yes, you are using my fingerprints for scale!!

That, according to my hubsy a bona fide herpetologist, is a Texas Blind Snake (Leptotyphlops dulcis).   Another fossorial snake, a burrower.  According to Bastiaan M. Drees of Texas A&M, this little guy indicates a healthy environment. Quoting him, they eat "larvae and pupae of insects, termites, and earthworms."  

In a way, he/she reminds us how intimately we depend on soil.  For example, their residence in the soil seems to be partly determined by soil moisture.  They like it, but of course sometimes it floods them out.   This page says that they move deeper underground when the surface soil dries out in the summer, and this page says that they are spotted more easily after a rain (like today, what a coincidence).  I imagine it's cuz their burrows got plugged with el agua.  Soil moisture reminds me of a lesson plan that I want to share with y'all, but I don't know how to put PDFs on here....

Anyways, they are nice guys.  They stay small, don't bite the homo sapiens, and they eat garden pests.  Let's keep him!

If you want to read about the more gruesome aspects of their hunting style, and reads words like "chemoreception," click here.  

Are y'all encountering some awesome soil creatures as well?

1 comment:

  1. I did want to read words like chemoreception. I'm trying to think of a conversation where I can throw the word in. Meanwhile I like the snake photo- I never knew snakes came in such a diminutive size!