Sind saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus sochureki)

Head of Sind saw-scaled viper
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Sind saw-scaled viper fact file

Sind saw-scaled viper description

GenusEchis (1)

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).   

Echis sochureki.
Length: up to 61 cm (2)

Sind saw-scaled viper biology

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).


Sind saw-scaled viper range

The Sind saw-scaled viper is known from the parts of southern Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iraq, Iran, Oman, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (2) (4).


Sind saw-scaled viper habitat

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).


Sind saw-scaled viper status

The Sind saw-scaled viper has yet to be classified by the IUCN.


Sind saw-scaled viper threats

There are currently no known threats to the Sind saw-scaled viper.


Sind saw-scaled viper conservation

There are no known conservation measures in place for the Sind saw-scaled viper.

Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi is a principal sponsor of ARKive. EAD is working to protect and conserve the environment as well as promoting sustainable development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

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A very diverse phylum (a major grouping of animals) that includes crustaceans, insects and arachnids. All arthropods have paired jointed limbs and a hard external skeleton (exoskeleton).
Organ that makes and secretes substances used by the body.
A projecting ridge along a flat or curved surface, particularly down the middle.
Giving birth to live offspring that develop inside the mother’s body.


  1. ITIS (October, 2010)
  2. Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (2005) The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, United Arab Emirates.
  3. Wildlife of Pakistan (October, 2010)
  4. The Reptile Database (October, 2010)
  5. Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  6. Rehan, H. (1993) Population structure and behavioural ecology of Echis carinatus sochureki in Sindh (Makli, Thatta). Ph.D. Thesis, University of Karachi, Pakistan.

Image credit

Head of Sind saw-scaled viper  
Head of Sind saw-scaled viper

© Tony Phelps /

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This species is featured in Jewels of the UAE, which showcases biodiversity found in the United Arab Emirates in association with the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.

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