Physical characteristics

Among the features denoting the basal position of anili-ids are the tiny eyes covered by one of the larger head scales (as in uropeltids) rather than a differentiated spectacle, as in most other snakes. Externally, these snakes have a superficial resemblance to the pipe snakes of Southeast Asia and to some of the venomous coral snake species of the Amazon Basin, being red or pink with about 50 black bands distributed evenly down the trunk. They have smooth, shiny scales in 15 (precloacal) to 21 (midbody) rows and the ventrals are one and one-half to two times the width of the adjacent scale rows. Internally, they retain teeth on the premaxilla, a vestigial pelvic girdle capped by a cloacal spur, a small left lung, and paired carotid arteries. Their skulls have massive jaws with small numbers of relatively large, slightly recurved conical teeth.

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