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Southern Blind Snake VS Meat Ants

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Healthy Environments

The Southern Blind Snake (Anilios australis) is endemic to Australia and widespread in the wheatbelt (Figure 1). You would be forgiven for mistaking this harmless snake for a giant earth-worm until you see it attacking a meat ant colony as this one is:

At first it looks as though the snake has haplessly wondered into a world of pain in this meat ant nest, but after observing for over 20 minutes it was obvious the snake was there for a purpose; to find a hole big enough to slither down for a meal of ant larvae.

Blind snakes have no need of eyes as they spend most of their lives underground, one of the few subterranean vertebrates. While the Southern Blind Snake is probably the most widespread in the wheatbelt, there are several species of blind snake in the region including the Beaked Blind Snake (Anilios waitii), Pale-Headed Blind Snake (Anilios hamatus) and the Rotund Blind Snake (Anilios pinguis). They are difficult to identify, you need to get a good look at the scale formation and head shape but it’s not recommended you pick these guys up, not because they are venomous but because they can produce a pungent odour from the anal glands.

Figure 1. The distribution of the Southern Blind Snake. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.