The Blind Shingles, ally or enemy?

The blind pebble is a species of scaled reptile that resembles snakes and lives in mainland Spain and Portugal, although another introduced species from India has been detected in the Canary Islands.


blind shingles background

The blind shingle, as its name suggests, is a reptile that cannot see because it lives underground and has adapted perfectly. The species Blanus cinereus is endemic to the Iberian Peninsula, being found mostly except in the north.

The well-known blind pot shingles is a species that has been introduced worldwide as it comes from potted plants imported from other parts of the world. It is Virgotyphlops braminus and comes from India. It is currently found in the Canary Islands of Spain and has an almost cosmopolitan distribution as it is also found in the rest of Asia, North America and South America.

Globally speaking, there are many species, especially in Africa and South America.

blind shingles from the pots

Blind Shingles Habitat

Most of its life, Blanus cinereus is underground and it is very rare to see it on the surface. It lives in hot but very humid areas where it can be found under stones and prefers to live in sandy areas.

As for the Indonesian species, it is usually found in hotel gardens, apartments or golf courses.

dangers of blind shingles

What does it feed on?

The blind cobbler is mainly an insectivorous predator, it can eat ants, insect larvae, eggs, beetles, spiders, mealybugs, earthworms and even some small reptiles but very rarely. They are harmless because they have no poison, their prey hunt them by biting them and to defend themselves they can try to suffocate their predator.

the reproduction

The Peninsular Blind Roller has a male that can reach 30 cm and a female that reaches 23 cm. It is active in spring and summer, although in warmer places it can be between February and November. They mate in the spring, the female laying between 1 or 2 eggs which she leaves on the ground.

As for the species Virgotyphlops braminus cited in the Canary Islands, no male has been found, so it is believed that it reproduces by parthenogenesis. It can lay eggs without the need for a male, which is why its global distribution is thought to have been so easy.

toxic blind shingles


In its natural habitat, the shingle can be eaten by many other species such as snakes, birds, wild boars, foxes, centipedes… The problem is when it is introduced because it has no natural predators.

If you live in an area where there are introduced shingles and you see one, it’s best to contact the authorities or a local animal center so they can let you know what to do with the captured specimen.

Ally or Enemy?

Many people think that because an animal eats the worms in their garden, it is already a bad animal that should be eliminated, but things are not like that. In nature, there is a balance in ecosystems made up of predators and prey, important because populations remain stable.

Blind shingles is a predator that repels many insectsthey may eat some worms over another but they won’t eat them all because worms lay eggs with many offspring that will continually repopulate the population of your garden.

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toxic blind pot shingle

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