Introduced snakes

There are three introduced snakes in Mauritius, although two are often mistaken for worms.

Indian wolf snake Lycodon capucinus

 

This small non-venomous snake originates from India and was introduced to Mauritius by accident sometime in the 1870s. They are nocturnal and can be found throughout mainland Mauritius and some of the offshore islands. It rarely reaches lengths over 60cm and its colour is usually rusty brown with a pale yellow to white intermittent pattern along the body. The scales also have the same pale outline. They prefer to eat small lizards, but they also eat small mammals. They are thought to have contributed to the decline of the endemic slit eared skinks, night geckos and day geckos of Mauritius.

Flowerpot snake Ramphotyphlops braminus

This tiny snake is only about 12cm long. It originates from Southeast Asia and is thought to have been introduced to Mauritius by accident sometime in the 1800s. They can be found throughout mainland Mauritius and several offshore islands where they live in leaf litter, loose soil, under logs and in termite nests. They are often seen in gardens under flowerpots, hence the name, and are also frequently seen after heavy rain as they try to avoid being drowned in the soil.

 
Slender worm snake Typhlops porrectus

The Slender worm snake originates from Southeast Asia and is thought to have been introduced to Mauritius by accident possibly after the flowerpot snake. They are rarely found in Mauritius and have only been recorded on a couple of the offshore islands. It looks very similar to the flowerpot snake, but is longer and thinner reaching a length of about 16cm.