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the web of life in southern Africa

Leptotyphlops longicaudus (Long-tailed worm snake, Long-tailed thread snake)

Langsterterdslangetjie, Langstertdraadslangetjie [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


The Long-tailed worm snake can be identified by its small size, rounded head and highly polished scales and it is entirely fossorial (underground living) lifestyle. It grows to an average length of 20 cm and a maximum length of 25 cm.

Distribution and habitat

Found in Limpopo, southern Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Its preferred habitat is moist savanna.


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 2 or more eggs.



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.