Barbados threadsnake

Merely thicker than a spaghetti noodle, it is the smallest snake on earth

Blair Hedges, Penn State

Barbados threadsnake


Merely thicker than a spaghetti noodle, it is the smallest snake on earth


Measuring a mere 10 centimeters in length (4 inches), this diminutive serpent often elicits comparisons to earthworms due to its slender form and inconspicuous appearance. However, beneath its unassuming exterior lies a creature of intriguing complexity and significance.

Sporting a dark brownish-gray coloration adorned with two distinctive yellow stripes, the Barbados threadsnake cuts a striking figure against the verdant backdrop of its forest habitat. While its appearance may suggest a creature of stealth and secrecy, its behavior remains largely shrouded in mystery. Little is known about its daily activities, including whether it is primarily nocturnal or diurnal in its habits.

Despite its lack of venom, the Barbados threadsnake is a proficient predator, relying on its diminutive size and agility to hunt down its preferred prey: termites and termite larvae. This specialized diet underscores the snake’s ecological role as a vital component of its ecosystem, contributing to regulating insect populations and maintaining ecological balance.

However, the future of the Barbados threadsnake hangs precariously in the balance, as it teeters on the brink of extinction. Restricted to a small area within the forests of Barbados, its survival is imperiled by the widespread deforestation and habitat destruction that have decimated much of the island’s native vegetation. With nearly all of its natural habitat eradicated, the Barbados threadsnake faces an uncertain fate, highlighting the urgent need for conservation efforts to preserve its dwindling population and safeguard its fragile ecosystem.


Population est.

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No