Slender Blind Snakes (Family Leptotyphlopidae)
Western Blind Snake,Leptotyphlops humilis(Baird & Girard, 1853). (Plate 10.41, Map 10.34) 6–12 in (15–30 cm); shiny in appearance; dorsal color silver or
light brown with a silver cast; eyes reduced to black spots covered by scales; head, body, and tail of uniform diameter. Habitat: In our area this species appears to be restricted to Creosote Bush Scrub below 5,000 ft (1,520 m). Most specimens have been found in rocky canyons where streams or springs are present. Worm Snakes, as they are commonly called, spend most of the time underground but occasionally are active on the surface at night. Remarks: Blind Snakes of the genus Leptotyphlops occur in Africa, Southwest Asia, South America, Central America, and North America. Most species occur in the tropics, and only two are present in the United States. Western Blind Snakes do not look like typical snakes and could be mistaken for worms because of their small size, uniform diameter, and lack of an obvious head. The greatly reduced eyes are covered by scales and function only to distinguish light intensity. They live underground, commonly in association with termite colonies. Termites, ants, and ant eggs are a major part of their diet. Blind snakes are rarely encountered in the White-Inyo mountains region but are commonly found in the Colorado River region of the Arizona-California border. Range: Canyons draining into the Panamint, Saline, Eureka, and Southern Owens valleys. References: Klauber (1940b), Brattstrom and Schwenkmeyer (1951).
Localities: California, Inyo Co.: 3,900 ft, Daisy Canyon, Saline Valley (CAS); 27.7 mi SE of Hwy. 168 on Eureka Valley Rd.; 4,000 ft, 4,480 ft, 4,500 ft, 4,630 ft, Grapevine Canyon, Nelson Range (CAS); 5 mi ENE Independence; 9.5 mi W Panamint Valley Rd. on Hwy. 190.