Saw Scaled Viper (Echis Carinatus)

E.carinatus | Yesitha Rodrigo
Closeup of E.carinatus | Yesitha Rodrigo

Saw Scaled Vipers are one of the smaller species of vipers found in Sri Lanka Restricted to the semi-arid zones of the northern and eastern parts of the island.

Discription: Vipers in the Echis Genus lack the distinguished triangular shaped heads most vipers have, they rather have a short rounded head with large golden yellow eyes with vertical pupils, cylindrical shaped body covered with rough keeled and serrated costal scales with a short tail when threated or provoked display an alluring behavior, coils themselves into a striking position while moving the coils against each other the keels scales produce a loud hissing noise created by the friction almost of an from a sawmill hence the name “Saw” Scaled Viper

Saw Scale Viper (Echis carinatus) | Yeistha Rodrigo
Saw Scale Viper (Echis carinatus) | Yeistha Rodrigo

Dorsally pale brown to tawny color with darker markings with a lighter undulating lines on these markings, saw scales have a distinguished marking of a shape bird’s foot to like a dagger like shape on its head.

Size: Longest recorded was 788mm specimen from India. on average adult specimen is about 450mm.

Geographical Distribution and Habitat : (E.carinatus) is widely distributed in India  unlike in Sri Lanka. and also recoded in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Oman, Masirah, Iran, U.A.E, Iraq and even some parts of Central Asia. The preferred habitat of saw scales are arid costal areas, semi deserts, also encountered in human

Venom: Although Saw Scales are small snakes what they lack in size they come up in venom. these snakes are Highly venomous. easily aggravated  When threated or provoked they will lash out to bite without hesitation with fangs long as 5 millimeters the fangs are remarkably long for a snake of its size, they have a Haemotoxic venom which attacks blood cells and blood vessels the venom is said to be 5 times more toxic than of a Spectacled Cobra (Naja naja).

Diet: Saw Scales feed on array of pray. from small mammals field mice and shrews small reptiles like geckos, skinks, lizards and also frogs. and even feeds on scorpions, centipedes, crickets and larger insects.

Breeding: Like many vipers Saw Scale are Ovoviviparous, an adult female can give birth to 3 -165 live young in clutch. juveniles are 115mm to 152 long when they are born.

Saw-Scaled Viper
Saw-Scaled Viper | chamod goonathilake©
Saw-Scaled Viper | chamod goonathilake
Saw-Scaled Viper | chamod goonathilake


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