British Wildlife Wiki

The Flowerpot Snake (Ramphotyphlops braminus) is a small burrowing snake. It was originally found in southern Asia, but has spread to other parts of the world by being transported in pots of house plants. (The UK is one of the countries that it has spread to.)

It is a harmless blind snake species found mostly in Africa and Asia, but has been introduced in many other parts of the world. Completely fossorial, they are often mistaken for earthworms, except that they are not segmented. The specific name is a Latinized form of the word Brahmin, which is a caste among Hindus.


The tiny eyes are covered with translucent scales, rendering these snakes almost entirely blind. The eyes cannot form images, but are still capable of registering light intensity. Adults are small and thin, averaging between 6.35-16.5 cm (2½ to 6½ inches) in length. The head and tail-tip look much the same, with no narrowing of the neck. The rudimentary eyes appear only as a pair of small dots under the head scales. The tip of the tail ends with a tiny pointed spur. The head scales are small and resemble those on the body. There are 14 rows of dorsal scales along the entire body. The coloration of the adults varies from shiny silver gray to charcoal gray or purple. The venter is grayish to brown. Juveniles are colored much the same as the adults.


Usually occur in urban and agricultural areas. These snakes live underground in ant and termite nests. They are also found under logs, moist leaves and humus in wet forest, dry jungle and even city gardens. The distribution and survival of this group of snakes directly reflects soil humidity and temperature.


Their diet consists of the larvae, eggs, and pupae of ants and termites.


This species is parthenogenetic and all specimens collected so far have been female. They lay eggs or may bear live young. Up to eight offspring are produced: all female and all genetically identical.