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World's Smallest Snake Found on the Caribbean Island of Martinique

Nov 05, 2016 08:04 AM EDT
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Man grabs and kills snake on a train with his bare hands

An exclusive video revealed for the first time the world's tiniest snake as it happily gulped down a group of tiny ants.

The creature belongs to the threadsnake family and is scientifically known as Tetracheilostoma sp. nov. It's even smaller than the previous title holder of the world's tiniest snake, which was the Barbados threadsnake, its closest cousin. Standing at only 10 centimeters long, this pint-sized serpent is so small that it can pass through a lead-less pencil. Scientists are of the view that the creature can be located only on the island of Martinique, located in the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea.

The team at Planet Earth II captured the footage, with the assistance of scientists Blair Hedges and Mael Dewynter from Pennsylvania State University who found the creature. This new species spends a major chunk of its time under the ground to protect itself from danger. However, even though it's tiny in size and dwarfed by most creatures, it's a prodigious predator. It can easily make its way into the nests of ants and termites and can feed on the huge number of eggs and larvae present in a colony.

On a place where the competition to please the belly seems fierce enough, the small size of the snake gives it an edge over the others. Islands seem to be the perfect home for the world's largest and smallest creatures, according to Hedges. This is the place where species evolve with time to fill the ecological slots in habitats that remain unoccupied by other creatures. Snakes and other organisms are prevented from being too tiny since there may be nothing for their young ones to eat, said Hedges. The Barbados threadsnake was discovered in 2008 by Hedges. He named the new creature in honor of his  beloved wife, Carla Ann Hass, who was also a part of the team.

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