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(blind snakes), a family of snakes containing the single genus Typhlops. Most blind snakes are approximately 40 cm in length, although a few, for example, the African Typhlops humbo, reach a length of 80 cm. The small eyes are concealed beneath scales and, when visible, look like dark spots. The body is covered with smooth scales; the tail is stubby and ends in a sharp spine.
There are approximately 170 species of blind snakes, distributed mainly in the tropical zones of both hemispheres. They are burrowing snakes, which live in the top layer of soil, under rocks, in forest litter, and in ant hills and termites’ nests. The snakes feed on ants, termites, and other small arthropods.
Most blind snakes are oviparous, although some are viviparous, for example, Diard’s blind snake (Typhlops diardi) of South Asia. The flowerpot snake (Typhlops braminus), one of the most common species, is found in South Asia and Madagascar and on islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans. The Asia Minor blind snake (Typhlops vermicularis), which resembles the earthworm, is found in the USSR in eastern Transcaucasia, southern Dagestan, and southern Middle Asia. Related genera of burrowing snakes, for example, Typhlophis and Lioiyphlops, were once included in the family Typhlopidae.
I. S. DAREVSKII