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the web of life in southern Africa

Leptotyphlops gracilior (Slender worm snake, Slender thread snake)

Skraal erdslangetjie, Skraal 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


The Slender 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 20 cm and a maximum length of 24 cm.

Distribution and habitat

Restricted to the Western Cape province. Its favoured habitats are karoo scrub and fynbos.


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.