Despite its relatively small size, the Sind saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus sochureki) is considered a dangerous snake, with an aggressive temperament, a lightning-fast strike and powerful venom (2). The Sind saw-scaled viper is distinguished by a prominent, dark brown, arrow-shaped marking on the head and is covered in small, heavily keeled scales. Three or four enlarged scales form a slight ridge above each eye. The body is tan, greyish or brown in colour, with a row of 30 whitish blotches with dark brown edges running along the back, while the underside is whitish with dark grey spots (2)(3).
Like all species in the family Viperidae, the Sind saw-scaled viper has large venom glands and long, hollow fangs that can be folded against the roof of the mouth when the mouth is shut (2)(5). An aggressive and efficient predator, it hunts mainly at night, and feeds on toads, lizards, arthropods, bird eggs and nestlings (3). The Sind saw-scaled viper is viviparous and gives birth to between 1 and 28 live young between mid-February and May (3)(6).
The Sind saw-scaled viper is easily provoked and will strike rapidly when it senses danger. When threatened, it first assumes a characteristic defensive position, curling its body into a series of C-shaped coils which are rubbed against each other in opposite directions to produce a loud, rasping warning ‘hiss’ (2)(5).
The Sind saw-scaled viper typically inhabits arid regions in sandy, rocky or gravel habitats, in areas of sparse and scrubby vegetation. It occurs from sea level up to elevations of 1,800 metres (2)(3).
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