Other common names
Brahminy Blind Snake, Flowerpot Snake
Most adult brahminy blindsnakes are about 4.4–6.5 inches (11.2–16.5 cm) in total length. These snakes are small, thin, and shiny silver gray, charcoal gray, or purple. The head and tail both appear blunt and can be difficult to distinguish from each other. Juvenile coloration is similar to that of adults.
Range in Florida
Brahminy blindsnakes are a non-native species from southern Asia that was first reported in Miami, Florida in the 1970s. They have now been found from Key West north throughout much of the peninsula, and there are isolated records from the Panhandle.
Assessment of risk to people and pets
Non-venomous. Brahminy blindsnakes are not dangerous to people or pets.
Comparison with other species
None, but brahminy blindsnakes are frequently mistaken for earthworms. Although both are shiny, if you look carefully you will see that earthworms are segmented (i.e., they have rings around the body) and brahminy blindsnakes are not segmented. Also, if you look closely at the head, you can see these snakes stick out their tiny tongues while being held.
Most adult brahminy blindsnakes are about 4.4–6.5 inches (11.2–16.5 cm) in total length, with a record length recorded of 6.8 inches (17.3 cm). These snakes are small, thin, and shiny silver gray, charcoal gray, or purple. The head and tail both appear blunt and can be difficult to distinguish from each other. The neck is indistinct, and the eyes are reduced to small patches of dark pigment beneath the scales. The tail is tipped with a tiny pointed spur. The head scales are similar in size and shape to body scales. The belly is grayish to brown, and the belly scales are not enlarged. The scales on the body are tiny, smooth, and shiny, and there are 14 scale rows along the entire body. Juvenile coloration is similar to that of adults.
Brahminy blindsnakes are excellent burrowers and can be found in loose soil and leaf litter, sawdust piles, rotting logs, and beneath rocks and other surface debris. However, these snakes are occasionally found in trees. Adults and juveniles are often found in urban and agricultural areas, where they can be locally abundant.
These tiny snakes do not bite in defense. If uncovered, brahminy blindsnakes will typically try to escape by burrowing. If captured, they may press the pointed but harmless tail tip against the attacker, and they may release foul-smelling musk from two glands in the base of the tail.
Brahminy blindsnakes feed on the eggs, larvae, and pupae of ants and termites.
This species is parthenogenetic (all individuals are females). Therefore, unfertilized eggs begin cell division without sperm from a male. Females can lay 1–8 eggs, and the offspring are genetically identical to the mother.
These snakes are unknowingly transported around the world in the soil of ornamental plants. As a result, these snakes are commonly found in gardens and potted plants, earning them the nickname “Flowerpot snakes.” In fact, brahminy blindsnakes have become the most wide-ranging terrestrial reptile species in the world.
Some people believe that this snake has a stinger on the tip of the tail. However, this is not the case. The pointy scale on the tip of the tail is completely harmless.
County data coming soon.
If you have a new or interesting observation for this species, please email the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum.
Ernst, C.H. and E.M. Ernst. 2003. Snakes of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. 668 pp.
Krysko, K.L., K.M. Enge, and P.E. Moler. 2019. Amphibians and Reptiles of Florida. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, Florida. 706 pp.
Powell, R., R. Conant, and J.T. Collins. 2016. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Fourth edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, Boston and New York. xiv + 494 pp.
Share your observations
You can help scientists better understand the biology and distribution of this species by sharing your observations. Send photos or videos of interesting observations, along with associated information, by emailing the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum for documentation in the Museum’s Herpetology Master Database. You can also post your observations on iNaturalist.
Additional helpful information
Do you have snakes around your house? Learn how to safely co-exist with snakes.
Still have questions about snakes or identifications? Feel free to email the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum with your questions or feedback on this profile.
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