Simon Worm Snake

Rhinotyphlops simoni

‎‎حَيّه دوديه عمياء سيمونيه‎‎

Status: Unknown

The Simon Worm Snake belongs to the Typhlopidae family in the Ophidia (snakes) sub-order of the order Squamata (scaled reptiles). It is one of three wormlike snake species present in Palestine, reaching a maximum total length (body + tail) of 28 cm. The Simon Worm Snake spends most of its life underground, burrowing in soil and into ants' nests. Over eons of evolution it has effectively lost its eyesight, its eyes are poorly developed and are covered by skin, and it barely has enough of its vision left to distinguish light from dark. The name worm snake stems, of course, from its resemblance to a worm. Another common name for this snake is "blind snake", due to its poor vision. It is very similar in appearance to the Beaked Blind Snake, but in the Simon Worm Snake the mouth is not beak-shaped in profile, and its head looks from above very pointed and yellowish in coloration. The color of the Simon Worm Snake is always a shade of pink. The diet of the Simon Worm Snake consists of ant eggs, larvae and pupae, and perhaps also of termite eggs, larvae and pupae. They are often found under rocks near or inside the tunnels of ant or termite nests. It is oviparous (the young hatch from eggs), but this is the only knowledge regarding its reproduction. Its resemblance to worms probably protects the Simon Worm Snake from persecution by humans, since it is seldom identified as a snake. The Simon Worm Snake inhabits parts of the Middle East.

Conservation status – least concern (LC).

In Palestine – Common in most Mediterranean and semi-arid ("semi-desert") habitats.

Sites: Umm at-Tut, Beitillu nature reserves