“This was found in a pool in Boca Raton, Florida”, writes this reader about the long, black, worm-like creature pictured below. “What is it?” At first glance, given the length and color of the worm, we thought it might be a New Guinea flatworm: an invasive species of flatworm that was discovered in the United States not so long ago, in 2012. However, upon looking at the creature’s not-so-flat shape, and the way in which its body twists in a manner unlike that of a flatworm, we have concluded that this is not a worm at all, but a snake.
Now, we think it’s possible our reader is thinking one or both of two things: 1) How could this be a snake? It’s so small! 2) Should I be worried for my safety? Assuming these things might be crossing his mind, we’ll address each point in turn. First, we think this is a brahminy blind snake, otherwise known as a flowerpot snake, and it is one of the smallest snake species in the world. It can only grow up to 6.5-inches in length, and can be much smaller than that. They are often mistaken for worms because of their small size. Secondly, our reader does not need to worry about his safety. Brahminy blind snakes are completely harmless. They are not venomous and they do not bite: we doubt they could fit their mouth around a human finger! If threatened, they may release a smelly toxin (which would potentially trigger a mild allergic reaction) or jab you with the pointy tip of their tail (though it won’t cause any real damage or pain).
Usually, brahminy blind snakes are found in loose soil, under piles of rocks or twigs, or indeed under flower pots, where they feed on insect pupae, larvae, and eggs. It is odd that our reader found this snake in his pool, as they are not aquatic. It must have fallen in accidentally. Luckily for this little guy, our reader already fished it out of the water and saved it. We recommend he just let the snake be. It won’t want to enter his home, as it would rather just burrow into the soil and escape: they’re shy creatures! On another note, we want to point out a fun fact about brahminy blind snakes, which is that they are all female. They are what is called a parthenogenetic species, meaning they can fertilize their eggs without a sperm, essentially performing a virgin birth. Fascinating, isn’t it?
To conclude, the black worm our reader found in his pools turns out not to be a worm at all, but a brahminy blind snake. However, as alarming as that sounds, he has nothing to fear. Brahminy blind snakes are adorable and harmless, and only want to be left to eat little bugs in the soil. We hope this helps, and we wish our reader the very best!
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