Friday, September 2, 2011

Creature Feature: Giant Amphisbaena.

Fridays are going to be brief again, guys. That means these entries are going to be short, sweet, and cited! 

Wednesday, I had the honor of seeing a presentation on the rarely-talked about group of reptiles called amphisbaenids. Yes, that name does come from the mythical two-headed serpent. It was applied to the real creature because, as in some skinks, the front end looks a lot like the rear.

Amphisbaenids are not snakes or lizards. They are a third group of squamate that lost their legs independently of snakes, are nearly blind, and resemble earthworms in so many ways it's scary.

Imagine a giant snake-worm crossbreed. Have you wet your pants yet? No? Good, because this horror has the most derpy face since the anaconda entry.

Source: Wikimedia.

That face belongs to the giant amphisbaena, Amphisbaena alba. It is native to Brazil and some of the surrounding countries in South America. It is also called the red worm lizard or white worm lizard (which comes from its scientific name). Like all amphisbaenids, it spends a good portion of its time underground, munching whatever invertebrates its scissor-like teeth come across.

These amphisbaenids can get up to three feet long and as thick as a sausage around. They are rarely encountered. Should you have the fortune of seeing this or any other amphisbaenid, take pics. There are several herpers I know who will love you for them.

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