Barbados thread snake is an interesting member of the snake family Leptotyphlopidae. Blair Hedges, a herpetologist from Pennsylvania State University, discovered it in 2008. It is known to be the smallest snake in the world. The adults of Barbados thread snakes can grow up to 10.4 cm. It is just 4 in. Its weight is also just 0.6gms. They seem to be like spaghetti noodles. Dead population size is still a mystery. Let's learn more about these tiny reptiles.
The snake was formally narrated by American biologist S. Blair Hedges in 2008. Later he had found a living specimen in 2006. Besides all the specimens found in 1889, 1918, and 1963, that had been inaccurately classified as other species. They were subsequently identified in museum collections still today.
The Barbados thread snake belongs to the Animalia Kingdom. Its Phylum is Chordata. The threat snakes belong to the reptilia class with an order of Squamata. Their suborder is serpentes. The Barbados thread snake belongs to the Leptotyphlopidae family under the genus of Tracheostoma.
Usually, the binomial name was taken from the name of species. So, the species are
Tetracheilostoma carlae, which is its binomial name. By considering both species and family, the thread snakes are referred to as Leptotyphlops carlae.
Distribution and Appearance
Usually, dry forests have favorable climatic conditions. Most of the Barbados thread snakes are found in the Caribbean island of Barbados in North America. Secondary forests are ideal home ranges for these reptiles. They also live under the burrows of leaves in the moist forests.
Barbados is a densely populated island. It has more secondary forests than primary forests, especially in the eastern part. Some scientists like Hedge estimated that the Barbados thread snake may be limited to a few square kilometers of secondary forest. Hence they are favorable climatic conditions for the survival of thread snakes. Currently, the forests of eastern Barbados have a span of 2 percent only. A major portion of the island was converted to agriculture for producing sugarcane. Afterward, at the beginning of the 17th century, it was first colonized by the English people.
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Then they found another threat to the survival of the Barbados snake due to the existence of the flowerpot blindsnake. It is an invasive species from Southeast Asia. Later they were found in Australia as well. They could fight with the Barbados thread snake because of food.
As it is already clear that these are very tiny reptiles with 4 inches of length, their body is as thin as a spaghetti noodle. Also, they need to get some particular size to start feeding. The thread snake's body has two yellow stripes on either side. And the middle body is covered with brown scales. There is also a thought that its body size is small and allows it to exploit the ecological niche through centipedes.
Diet and Nutrition
Though it is the smallest snake in the world, the threat snake also needs a minimum quantity of food which is quite enough to fill its small tummy. Termite or ant larvae are the major ingredients of the excess diet. The thread snakes are carnivorous. They prefer to feed on the ex of ants. But at some times they can feed on adult insects also. As it is the smallest snake, it has a very tiny mouth. It needs to open the jar completely to take a small size of food.
Barbados thread snakes are oviparous. Oviparous is the kind of reptile that lays eggs to reproduce. The female snake can lay eggs for one of spring. During the time of hatching, the baby snake also known as a snakelet is about half the length of an adult snake. The mating process is similar to that of other snakes.
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The behavior of the thread snakes is non-venomous. They always prefer to live under the boroughs of leaves. They don't want to come out. It is also helpful for them to avoid dryness by exposing them to the sun. As they are very small and sensitive, it is safe to be in the underground level. They won't come out till the water floods into the burrows. The minimum water flow also vanishes because of their lightweight. So they spend most of the time squirming into the soft soil.
Similar to other reptiles, the Barbados thread snakes have a means of communication. It is nothing but Pheromones. The chemical signals are found in soil, water, and air. These signals are left by the animals only. So the thread snakes use these chemical signals to communicate with others.
The major threat of Leptotyphlops is the loss of habitat. As these species are restricted to live in Barbados, it is a small forest region. So there is no guarantee for the survival of these thread snakes in the long run. The population is also less in number. The thread snakes that live in eastern Barbados are considered critically endangered species by the International Union of Conservation of Nature. They mentioned it in their red list.
The International Union of Conservation of nature stated in its red list about the thread snakes as critically endangered. As they have little favorable conditions and less population, it is very difficult but important to conserve them. Still, scientists are researching to know more facts. The exact population size, the rate of speed, etc were unknown as of now. So the government has put so much effort and taken necessary measures to conserve them.
Barbados Thread Snakes Bite
The most important factor that everyone should know is about the bite of the Barbados thread snake. Even though they are not dangerous reptiles and they are not poisonous, several cases were found that these Barbados thread snakes may bite on human beings at times. This is not at all good for the health of a human being whether they may be an adult or a kid. Recent studies have found a vaccine for the thread snake's bite. But as we know that prevention is better than cure, it is always good to be cautious and should be aware of these thread snakes.
The major harmful thing of Barbados thread snakes is the absence of venom. As it is not present for the smallest snake in the world, they can be treated as harmful organisms for mankind. If the venom is present in the body of Threadsnake, everyone can assure the safety of human beings. But here the scenario is completely different. So just give up the thought of making Barbados thread snakes as pets.
Hence the Leptotyphlops are the carnivore reptiles that lay eggs for every offspring. The thread snakes are the smallest snake in the world. Its size is just double the size of a caterpillar. They always prefer to live in burrows of leaves in the soft soil. They are harmless creatures. Habitat loss is the major threat to their survival. They are considered critically endangered. The government has taken several measures to conserve the smallest snake.