home   about   search

biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Leptotyphlops scutifrons (Peter's worm snake, Peter's thread snake)

Peter se erdslangetjie [Afrikaans]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Lepidosauromorpha > Lepidosauria > Squamata > Serpentes (snakes) > Family: Leptotyphlopidae > Genus: Leptotyphlops


Peter's worm snake can be identified by its small size, rounded head, highly polished scales, uniform brown or red colour and a spine on the tail and it is entirely fossorial (underground living). It grows to an average length of 20 and a maximum length of 28 cm.

Distribution and habitat

Found in north west South Africa, eastern Namibia, Botswana and southern Mozambique. It is found in a variety of habitats from coastal forest to karoo scrub.


Eats invertebrates (particularly termites).

Predators, parasites and disease

Eaten by other snakes, birds, small carnivorous mammals (e.g. mongooses) and scorpions.


Oviparous (egg-laying), lays between 2 and 7 eggs in summer.



Medical importance




  • Broadley, D.G. 1983. FitzSimons' Snakes of Southern Africa. Delta Books, Johannesburg.

  • Marais, J. 2004. A Complete Guide to Snakes of Southern Africa. Struik Publishing, Cape Town.