Hooked thread snake (Leptotyphlops macrorhynchus)

Hooked thread snake
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Hooked thread snake fact file

Hooked thread snake description

GenusLeptotyphlops (1)

One of the smallest snakes in the world (3), the hooked thread snake is a rarely seen, predominately subterranean species of North Africa and the Middle East (2) (4). Owing to its diminutive size, extremely slender body, and pink skin, it is often mistaken for an earthworm (3) (4). Shiny, smooth scales cover its body, enabling it to slide easily through sand and soil (5) (6). The eyes are only just visible as small black dots, while the snout is strongly hooked for burrowing, hence the common name (2) (7).

Also known as
hook-snouted slender blindsnake, Longnosed worm snake.
Max length: 24 cm (2)

Hooked thread snake biology

On account of their small size and secretive lives, most species within the Leptotyphlopidae family, including the hooked thread snake, are relatively poorly known (2) (5). The hooked thread snake burrows in sand and soil, rarely being seen at the surface, except at night, or after being washed out by heavy rain (4). Although, primarily a specialist termite feeder, this species will also feed on ants and other soft-bodied insects (2) (3) (4). Like other thread snakes, it lays eggs (5), with the clutch size ranging from two to four (2).


Hooked thread snake range

The hooked thread snake occurs in scattered locations throughout Northern Africa, across to the Arabian Peninsula and through the Middle East to Pakistan (2) (4) (8).


Hooked thread snake habitat

Found in sandy areas of dry savanna and semi-desert (7).


Hooked thread snake status

This species has yet to be classified by the IUCN.


Hooked thread snake threats

While the conservation status of the hooked thread snake is yet to be assessed on the IUCN Red List, there are no known major threats to this species.


Hooked thread snake conservation

There are no known conservation measures in place for the hooked thread snake.

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi is a principal sponsor of ARKive. EAD is working to protect and conserve the environment as well as promoting sustainable development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

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  1. Species 2000 and ITIS Catalogue of Life (March, 2009)
  2. O'Shea, M. (2007) Boas and Pythons of the World. New Holland Publishers, London.
  3. Vine, P. (1996) Natural Emirates: Wildlife and Environment of the United Arab Emirates. Trident Press, London.
  4. Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (2005) The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, United Arab Emirates.
  5. Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptile and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  6. Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
  7. J. Craig Venter Institute (August, 2009)
  8. Al-Sadoon, M.K. (1989) Survey of the reptilian fauna of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 1. The snake fauna of the Central Region. J. King Saud. Univ. Sci., 2: 53 - 69.

Image credit

Hooked thread snake  
Hooked thread snake

© Seyed Bagher Mousavi and Seyed Saeed Mousavi

Seyed Bagher Mousavi and Seyed Saeed Mousavi
Majid Alavy
Tel: +989166077759


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