This family of snakes is generally seen as one of the oldest surviving groups of snakes. Snakes have probably evolved out of small, burrowing lizards, and this group retains a lot of the qualities of these extinct early snakes. One of the most typical of these early characteristics is found in the eyes, which are reduced. This means they are basically nothing more than a group of light-sensitive cells, by which the snake can determine if its head is above or under ground. Other "old characteristics" are: A rudimentary pelvis, jawbone structure and teething that are halfway between lizards and modern snakes, and two functional lungs (modern snakes have only a left lung left).

The distribution of Typhlopids is very extensive, as can be expected of a group that has been around for a long time. They are found all over the world and on all continents (except Antarctica).

Typhlopids are similar to the families Anomalepidae and Leptotypholidae. They are relatively small to medium sized snakes, usually about 30 cm, although Typhlops schlegeli (Shlegels Blindsnake) can get up to 1 m (for comparison, the longest snake in the world today (Python Reticulatus) can get up to 10m, and there was even an unconfirmed report of one found in Indonesia that reached a full 14.85 meters! (for the whole story, click here)). The snakes have a rounded body (burrowers!) with a blunt, stout head and a short tail.

Typhlopids lay eggs which in several species (mainly those living in colder climates) are held inside the body for a long time, almost or completely until the embryos are ready to hatch (ovovivipare).

The main food of Typhlopids consists of ant or termite pupae, larvae, eggs, and occasionally even the adults. In order to protect themselves as they feed (they have their head inside a real, live antsnest at this time remember!) the heads of these snakes are usualy rather well armoured.