Sind saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus sochureki)

Head of Sind saw-scaled viper
Loading more images and videos...

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.

Find out more

To learn more about reptile conservation visit:

To learn more about conservation in the Arabian Gulf visit:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:



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 /

Nature Picture Library
5a Great George Street
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 117 911 4675
Fax: +44 (0) 117 911 4699


Link to this photo

Arkive species - Sind saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus sochureki) Embed this Arkive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to Arkive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about



MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite Arkive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

This species is featured in:

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.

This species is featured in:

Learn more about the world’s snakes on our topic page.

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!


Back To Top