World’s smallest snake discovered on Barbados


This video is called Barbados parrot attack at Graeme Hall Nature Park.

From the BBC:

World’s smallest snake discovered

By Jennifer Carpenter
Science reporter, BBC News

The world’s smallest snake, averaging just 10cm (4 inches) and as thin as a spaghetti noodle, has been discovered on the Caribbean island of Barbados.

The snake, found beneath a rock in a tiny fragment of threatened forest, is thought to be at the very limit of how small a snake can evolve to be.

Females produce only a single, massive egg – and the young hatch at half of their adult body weight.

This new discovery is described in the journal of Zootaxa.

The snake – named Leptotyphlops carlae – is the smallest of the 3,100 known snake species and was uncovered by Dr Blair Hedges, a biologist from Penn State University, US. …

Dr Hedges thinks that the snake eats termites and is endemic to this one Caribbean island. He said that, in fact, three very old specimens of this species were already in collections – one in London’s Natural History Museum and two in a museum in Martinique.

However, these specimens had been misidentified. …

Researchers believe that the snake – a type of thread snake – is so rare that it has survived un-noticed until now.

But with 95% of the island of Barbados now treeless, and the few fragments of forest seriously threatened, this new species of snake might become extinct only months after it was discovered.

Smallest of the small

In contrast to other species of snake – some of which can lay up to 100 eggs in a single clutch – the world’s smallest snake only produces a single egg.

“This is unusual for snakes but seems to be a feature of small animals,” Dr Hedges told BBC News.

By having a single egg at a time, the snake’s young are one-half the length of the adult. That would be like humans giving birth to a 60-pound (27kg) baby

Dr Hedges added that the snake’s size might limit the size of its clutch.

“If a tiny snake were to have more than one offspring, each egg would have to share the same space occupied by the one egg and so the two hatchlings would be half the normal size.”

The hatchlings might then be too small to find anything small enough to eat.

This has led the researchers to believe that the Barbadian snake is as small as a snake can evolve to be.

See also here.

2 thoughts on “World’s smallest snake discovered on Barbados

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.