Monday, September 9, 2013

THE LITTLEST SNAKE OF ALL

Maybe you have been wondering what the tiniest snake in the whole world is, in which case, you should go on reading.  But if you don't care about that, just come back another day when I will be writing about a different subject.

Anyway, it turns out that the smallest snake anybody has discovered so far is the Barbados threadsnake.  And this snake was only just described and named by a biologist in 2008.  Maybe it took so long to find the snake because it lives in the ground in just one certain part of the island of Barbados.  The scientific name for this snake is Leptotyphlops carlae, which is almost longer than the snake itself.


Photo:  Blair Hedges
Pennsylvania State University


The biologist who first found this tiny snake was S. Blair Hedges, who is from Pennsylvania State University.  He named the snake in honor of his wife, Carla, who was also part of the discovery team.  The average length of Barbados threadsnakes is 4 inches (10 cm).  They are blind and they burrow into the forest soil, where they eat insect larvae.





There are only a few square kilometers of forest left in Barbados because lots of people live on the island, and most of the original forest got cut down.  When Mr. Hedges was talking about the Barbados threadsnake back in 2008, he said, "I think it should be considered critically endangered because of its limited habitat, apparent rarity, and ongoing threats."





The female Barbados threadsnake lays just one, elongated egg at a time.  The baby snake that hatches out of the egg is almost half as big as an adult threadsnake.  If it were any smaller, it wouldn't be able to eat insects and survive.  Because they have to reproduce in this way, Mr. Hedges thinks that it would probably be impossible for any snake to evolve to a smaller size than the Barbados threadsnake.

This is fine with me, because I like really little snakes lots better than really big snakes!




6 comments:

  1. Dear Piper,
    When I read the topic of today's blog...I came close to bypassing today's blog. Then I saw the picture of the snake on a quarter....I realized this is truly a very small snake. At first I honestly thought it might be a worm. Lol. Have a good day. Ly AP

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    1. Dear AP,
      I can't believe you would even consider bypassing one of my fascinating blogs! And now that you read it, you know there really is a snake so small that it looks like a worm! Di and Dodi would probably like to play with this tiny snake. I prefer cicadas, personally.
      Love, Piper

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  2. WOW- i'm very glad to learn about that little, little snake. I asked mom if we could get one, but she said it would not be a good idea because she'd probably misplace a snake that small.

    --Zest! snakeless superstar (who likes alliterations)

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    1. Mom says that if we had a snake that small in our house, it would be crawling around under her clothes and giving her the heebie-jeebies, whatever that is. I told Mom she could just go without clothes, like I do, but she did not like this idea.

      Your friend, Piper

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  3. I just found 1 in Panamá (Jun-6-2015)

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    1. That's amazing! They are so small that it seems like it would be difficult to even find one!

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