Colloquial/Common Names: Bibron se Erdslang (Afrikaans); Inyoka yomhlaba (isiXhosa); Inyoka yaphansi (isiZulu).

Taxonomy: Class: Reptilia; Order: Squamata; Suborder: Serpentes (Ophidia); Infraorder: Scolecophidia; Family: Typhlopidae. Earlier literature refers to this snake as Typhlops bibronii.

Identification: A pinkish to dark brown snake with smooth, highly polished scales and a blunt head with rudimentary eyes. Tail ends in a sharp, terminal spine.

Size: Adults 300-500mm total length.

Distribution: Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, eastern Free State, Gauteng, North West, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Swaziland.

Habitat: Found from sea level to over 2 000m in the Drakensberg, where it is found in Indian Ocean Coastal Belt, Grassland and Savanna Biomes. Largely fossorial (living underground) in loose soil and termite chambers.

Activity & Behaviour: Largely fossorial (burrowing), but active above the surface on warm, humid nights.

Diet & Feeding: Eggs and larvae of ants.

Reproduction: Oviparous, females lay 5-14 eggs which hatch within a week.

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

References and Recommended Further Reading:

  • Alexander, G. & Marais, J. 2007. A Guide to the Reptiles of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers.
  • Bates, M. F., Branch, W. R., Bauer, A. M., Burger, M., Marais, J., Alexander, G. J., & de Villiers, M. S. (eds). 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.
  • Branch, W. R. 1998. Field Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers.
  • Broadley, D. G. 1990. FitzSimons’ Snakes of Southern Africa. Jonathan Ball and Ad. Donker Publishers.

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