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the web of life in southern Africa

Leptotyphlops telloi (Tello's worm snake, Tello's thread snake)

Tello se erdslangetjie, Tello se draadslangetjie [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


Tello's worm snake can be identified by its small size, rounded head and highly polished scales and it is entirely fossorial (underground living). It grows to an average length of 14 cm and a maximum length of 18 cm.

Distribution and habitat

This snake species is restricted to the Lebombo Mountains.


Eats invertebrates.

Predators, parasites and disease

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


Probably oviparous (egg-laying).



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.