Rena humilis, the western blind snake, is a small and primitive earthworm-like snake native to the Southwestern United States. As their common name suggests, blind snakes don’t have any vision and spend most of their time burrowed underground.
An adult western blind snake reaches a length of up to 12 inches (30 cm). Their body is slender and worm-like.
Patterns and Coloration
Western blind snakes have an earthworm-like appearance. Their bodies are shiny and single-colored in pink, brown, purple or silvery colors.
The western blind snake can easily be confused with the similar-looking Rena dulcis, the Texas blind snake. The best way to distinguish the two is by closely looking at their head. The Western blind snake has one scale between the ocular scales while the Texas blind snake has three.
Rena humilis lives underground and is hardly ever seen above ground. It feeds on small insects like ants, termites as well as insect larvae.
Western blind snakes are nonvenomous and pose absolutely no danger for humans or pets. Due to their size, they are unable to bite through human skin.
Since it lives underground, the western blind snake can inhabit any habitat with a loose soil. In its natural range in the Southern United States, these can be desert areas, savannah or scrubland.
Western blind snake range in the USA
As its common name suggests, the western blind snake is endemic to the western part of the United States as well as Northern Mexico. In the U.S., it can be found in Southwestern Texas, in Central and Southern Arizona, in Southern California, Southern Nevada and Southern Utah.
Scientific classification of Rena humilis
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Squamata
- Suborder: Serpentes
- Family: Leptotyphlopidae
- Genus: Rena
- Species: Rena humilis
Rena humilis has six recognized subspecies. All of the can be found in the Southern United States:
- Desert Blind Snake (Rena humilis cahuilae)
- Southwestern Blind Snake (Rena humilis humilis)
- Utah Blind Snake (Rena humilis utahensis)
- Rena humilis levitoni
- Rena humilis lindsayi
- Rena humilis tenuiculus
The overall appearance between the subspecies doesn’t differ greatly.
Other common names
In addition to Western blind snake, Rena humilis is commonly also called the western slender blind snake or the western threadsnake.