Saw scaled – viper (Echis Carinatus)

The smallest of the ‘big four’ venomous snakes in India, it very rarely grows over 2 feet in length. Being nocturnal in nature they are active from late evening into the late hours of the night looking for food and moving around.
They are generally terrestrial in nature climb vegetative scrubs for basking. They get their name from the keeled scales on the side of the body. When threatened they rub the scales together making a rasping sound. They are very slow moving and move with a sideways motion. However, it takes them less than a second to strike someone and retreat. Their bites need to be treated with anti-venom as soon as possible as their bite is far more toxic than a Russel’s viper’s and causes major tissue loss. Being quite small in size, they eat only smaller animals like scorpions, spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, frogs and small lizards. During the mating season, the males start with combat. Females are oviparous which means they give birth to live young, about 6-8 live young during the summer to monsoon months. As usual their biggest threat is due to habitat destruction and road kills.

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