2003 Wildlife Facts - Common Blind Snake Lizard

Photo of the Common Blind Snake Lizard, Culebrita Ciega

Common Blind Snake Lizard, Puerto Rican Worm Lizard (Eng.), Culebrita Ciega com (Sp.), Amphisbaena caeca

Photo from:  The Amphibians and Reptiles of Puerto Rico; Juan A. Rivero

Information compiled by Alan Mowbray, Interpretive Media Writer, EYNF/LEF

General Information

Amphisbaenids are legless, worm-like lizards with elongated bodies nearly uniform in diameter. They are covered with ring-like scales similar in appearance to earthworms. They are underground animals, hence the eyes have degenerated to tiny indistinct spots under the rings.

Description

The Common Blind Snake Lizard is pinkish-brown on the head and tail with many dark spots on the annuli (body rings) of which there are between 214 and 237 in this species. It measures 10 inches (260 millimeters) in length, from snout to vent. Because it is somewhat difficult to distinguish it's head from it's tail it is sometimes referred to as a "two-headed snake" (in Puerto Rico "Culebra de dos cabezas") by local people. According to folklore, wearing a live Amphisbaena on your body "helps safeguard pregnancy" while wearing a dead snake "helps rherumatism".

Habits

They can be found burrowing in the ground under logs, rocks, old tree stumps and under termite and ant nests.

Habitat

They live in dense woodlands, thickets and caves in Puerto Rico, Isla Vieques, Isla Culebra and the Virgin Islands.

Where to look for this animal in the EYNF

They can be found burrowing in the ground under logs, rocks, old tree stumps and under termite and ant nests.

Additional Information

Rivero, Juan A., 1978; The Amphibians and Reptiles of Puerto Rico, Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico

Biologist
USDA Forest Service
El Yunque National Forest
HC-01 Box 13490
Rio Grande, PR 00745-9625
787-888-5610

List of Mamals by Month

January: Flannel Moth February: White-Lipped Frog March: Puerto Rican Screech Owl April: Common Blind Snake Lizard
Link/Drawing of Flannel Moth, Plumilla
Link/Photo of PR Screech Owl, Mucarito de PR
Link/Photo of Blind Snake, Culebrita Ciega
May: Spotted Sandpiper June: Mountain Mullet July: Black Rat August: Pueto Rico Upland Gecko
Link/Photo of Mountain Mullet, Dajao
September: Black Swift October: Big-Claw River Shrimp November: North American Bull Frog December: Puerto Rican Bullfinch
Link/Photo of Big-claw River Shrimp, Camarón
Link/Photo of the North American Bull Frog, Sapo Toro
Link/Photo of Puerto Rican Bullfinch, Comeñame de Puerto Rico