Myriopholis cairi


Range: northern Africa from Mauritiana to Egypt and Ethiopia


The Cairo earthsnake/threadsnake is a spottily distributed animal found across northern Africa alon the southern and eastern borders of the Saharan desert and dry regions along the Red Sea; it likely has a more continuous distribution than currently recorded, but locally patchy due to its habitat preferences. This species grows up to 25 cm in length but only 2-3 mm in diameter, with a blunt, rounded head barely larger than the extremely slender neck and body, and a short 2 cm tail tipped by a sharp spine. Scale row count midbody is 14, likely 10 around the tail, dorsal scale count is 267-364 (typically around 320). Coloration is pale fleshy pink or brown-tinted dorsally, paler cream to off-white ventrally. This species is often confused with the adjacent more dryland-dwelling M. algeriensis, braccianii, and macrorhyncha, from which it can be distinguished by its less pronounced rostral scale, divided occipital plates, and preference for much wetter locations.


Habitat: moist areas, floodplains, and cultivated or human-inhabited regions even with standing water present; found under rocks, root clumps, and in burrows.


Prey: small insects, likely ant and termite larvae particularly.


Lifespan and reproduction: lifespan unknown, likely under 7 years. Oviparous



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