News & Opinion | December 22, 2018 5:00 am

New Snake Discovered Inside Another Snake

The newly found animal's ability to burrow helps account for why it has remained so elusive.

The Coral Snake often eats other smaller snakes like the Cenaspis aenigma. (Getty)
The Coral Snake often eats other smaller snakes like the Cenaspis aenigma. (Getty)
Getty Images/iStockphoto

In “thank you, next” news, a new snake species has been discovered inside of the stomach of another snake, National Geographic reports.

The new snake discovered, Cenaspis aenigma, which translates to “mysterious dinner snake,” has unique features including the shape of its skull, the covering of its reproductive organs, and the scales under its tail.

Scientists believe that the snake eats insects and spiders and is a burrower. The snake’s ability to burrow could be, along with other factors, why the species has remained so elusive. “This provides evidence of just how secretive some snakes can be. Combine their elusive habits with restricted ranges and some snakes do not turn up often,” Jonathan Campbell, a herpetologist at the University of Texas, explains to National Geographic.

Something amazing about this new snake compared to other species is its reproductive organ. Typically, Cenaspis’ sex organs are adorned with spines. The new species hemipenes lacks such features.

Kevin de Queiroz, curator of the collection of Amphibians and Reptiles at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, said, “It’s always interesting to find a species that is new to science, and even more so when it appears not to be particularly closely related to any currently known species.”