Turning the compost pile the other day, I uncovered the usual fossorial critters - those that have a subterranean lifestyle, adapted to digging or burrowing. There were your earthworms, millipedes, beetles and sowbugs, but then something different caught my eye. At first I thought it was a worm, but the absence of a segmented body had me take a closer look. Sure enough, that dark brown, shiny slitherer was none other than the Hawaiian Blind Snake, a.k.a. flower pot snake, Ramphotyphlops braminus. This snake is said to be the most widespread of terrestrial snakes, probably owing to the fact that it likes to burrow into the pots and containers of plants and agricultural products, which are then shipped around the world in the plant trade. It's believed that is how it was introduced to Hawaii, likely in the 1930's, in a shipment from the Phillipines. Once they have landed in a new location that has favorable conditions, they
have a leg up (so to speak) on establishing themselves, as they are parthenogenetic: the females can produce offspring asexually, without fertilization from a male. This is rare among snakes, and all of these snakes are believed to be female. They are harmless and nearly blind - the rudimentary eyes are light sensitive. To me, they are welcomed visitors to my compost pile, as they feed on the eggs, larvae and pupae of ants and termites as well as small invertebrates. Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap.
welcomes you to visit with the all the wonderful flora and fauna that we share this lovely aina with.