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the web of life in southern Africa

Leptotyphlops distanti (Distant's worm snake, Distant's thread snake)

Distant se erdslangetjie, Distant 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


Distant's worm snake can be identified by its small size, rounded head, a uniform grey black colour, highly polished scales and it is entirely fossorial (underground living). It grows to an average length of 15 cm and a maximum length of 24 cm.

Distribution and habitat

Restricted to Limpopo, Swaziland and north east KwaZulu-Natal. Its favoured habitats are coastal forest, moist savanna and grassland.


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.