‘P.e.n.i.s snakes’ from South America have taken up a canal near the Miami International Airport
An obscure, legless amphibian, colloquially referred to by some as a ‘p.e.n.i.s snake,’ is the latest invasive species to make its way to South Florida.
Formally known as a caecilian, these creatures are native to Colombia and Venezuela, but several have been pulled from the Tamiami Canal near the Miami International Airport.
Caecilians can range in size from a few inches to five feet long and have extremely poor eyesight – their name translates to ‘blind ones’ in Latin.
However, the ‘penis snake’ has a pair of sensory tentacles between its eyes and nostril that helps it detect food, which it snatches up with dozens of needle-like teeth.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission says caecilians are harmless.
Caecilians live on both land and freshwater, and typically consume worms and termites – but they have been known to snatch small snakes, frogs and lizards, Wired reports.
Although they look more like snakes, caecilians belong to the Gymnophiona order of amphibians, more closely related to frogs, toads, salamanders and newts.