Saw-Scaled Viper

Introduction to Saw-Scaled Viper

Any of eight species of tiny poisonous snakes (family Viperidae) that live north of the Equator in desert areas and dry savannas spanning Africa, Arabia, and southwestern Asia to India and Sri Lanka. They are distinguished by a strong body, a pear-shaped head that differs from the neck, vertically elliptical pupils, rough and highly keeled scales, and a short thin tail. Several rows of obliquely oriented serrated scales cover both sides of the body. Adults are about 0.3 and 0.9 metres long (1 to 3 feet). Echis have a variety of brown, grey, or orange colours with darker dorsal blotches and lateral patches. Sidewinding movement is used by saw-scaled vipers (see sidewinders). They are nocturnal, coming at night to hunt for prey such as mammals, birds, snakes, lizards, amphibians, and invertebrates like scorpions and centipedes. Northern Africa is home to egg-laying species that lay up to 23 eggs per female, whereas the Middle East and southern Asia are home to live-bearing species like Echis carinatus.

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Saw Scaled Viper

Saw scaled viper Echis carinatus is a poisonous viper species found in portions of the Middle East and Central Asia, particularly the Indian subcontinent. Due to a variety of variables, including its frequent presence in densely populated areas and its inconspicuous appearance, it is the smallest member of the big four snakes that is responsible for the majority of snakebite cases and deaths. The total length (body + tail) of Echis carinatus varies between 38 and 80 cm (15 and 31 in), but rarely exceeds 60 cm (24 in). The head is separate from the neck, and the nose is small and rounded. The nose is divided by three shields, and the head is coated in small keeled scales, some of which have an increased supraocular. The top of the skull has 9-14 interocular scales and 14-21 circumorbital scales. The eye is separated from the supralabials by 1-3 rows of scales. There are 10-12 supralabials and 10-13 sublabials, with the fourth generally being the biggest.

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There are 25-39 rows of keeled scales with apical pits on the dorsal side and serrated keels on the flanks. There are 143-189 spherical ventral scales that cover the whole width of the belly. The anal scale is solitary, while the subcaudals are undivided and number 21-52.


A pale buff, greyish, reddish, olive, or pale brown ground colour is overlaid on the middorsal side with a sequence of variously coloured, but typically white spots, bordered with dark brown and separated by lighter inter blotch patches. Dorsolaterally, a succession of white bows run. A white cruciform or trident pattern runs over the top of the head, with a thin stripe going from the eye to the angle of the jaw. The belly is pale to pinkish in hue, either uniform or with faint or prominent brown spots.

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Habitat of Saw Scaled Viper

Echis carinatus may be found on a variety of surfaces, including sand, rock, soft soil, and scrubland.


Frequently seen hiding behind loose rocks. Specimens have also been discovered at altitudes as high as 1982 metres in Balochistan.

Geographical Range

Saw scaled viper species found in Pakistan, India (in the rocky areas of Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab), Sri Lanka, the Middle East, and Africa north of the equator. Saw scaled viper Echis carinatus is a species that is only found in Asia. It may be found in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan in the Indian subcontinent (including Urak near Quetta and Astola Island off the coast of Makran). It may be found in Oman, Masirah (Island), the eastern United Arab Emirates, Iraq, and southwestern Iran in the Middle East. Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan are among the countries in Central Asia where they may be found.

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Behaviour

Saw scaled viper snake is mostly crepuscular and nocturnal, although there have been reports of activity during daytime hours. They hide throughout the day in a variety of places, including deep mammal burrows, rock fractures, and fallen rotting logs. They may bury themselves in sandy areas, leaving only the head visible. They are frequently most active after showers or on humid evenings. This species is frequently found climbing in bushes and shrubs, reaching heights of up to 2 metres. When it rains, up to 80% of the adult population will seek shelter in the shrubs and trees. It was once seen that about 20 people had gathered on top of a single cactus or tiny bush. Due to their inconspicuous and very aggressive character, Echis carinatus is one of the species responsible for the most snakebite incidents.

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Scaled viper characteristic pose, a double coil in the shape of an eight with the head poised in the middle, allows it to lash out like a released spring.


They mostly move around via sidewinding, a technique at which they are extremely skilled and shockingly fast. They can also move in different ways, but sidewinding appears to be the greatest option for getting around in their sandy surroundings. Because there are only two points of touch with the heated surface in this mode of movement, it may help protect them from overheating too soon.

In the northern parts of its range, saw scaled viper snake hibernate in winter.

Feeding

Rodents, lizards, frogs, and a range of arthropods, such as scorpions, centipedes, and huge insects, are all eaten by saw scaled viper. Depending on the availability of prey, the diet may be altered. This generalist diet may be to blame for some places' high populations.

Venom (Poison)

Neurotoxins, cardiotoxins, hemotoxins, and cytotoxins are the four kinds of toxins found in Echis snake venom.


In many tropical rural regions, the genus is considered medically relevant. They are prevalent and reside in places with little access to contemporary medical care. When these snakes are active, the majority of victims are bitten after nightfall. The venom of most of these species contains components that can produce consumption coagulopathy and defibrination, which can last for days or weeks. Saw scaled viper generates around 18 mg of dry venom per gramme of body weight on average, with a high of 72 mg.

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It can inject up to 12 mg, although an adult's death dose is considered to be just 5 mg. Envenomation causes both local and systemic symptoms, the latter of which can be lethal. Swelling and discomfort are common local symptoms that emerge within minutes following a saw scaled viper bite. In severe situations, the swelling can spread up the entire afflicted limb within 12–24 hours, resulting in blisters on the skin. Individual specimens produce varying amounts of venom, as does the amount injected in every saw scaled viper bite. The mortality rate from their bites is around 20%, although deaths are relatively uncommon due to the availability of anti-venom.

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Haemorrhage and coagulation defects are the most serious of the more serious systemic signs. Hematemesis, melena, hemoptysis, hematuria, and epistaxis are all common side effects that can lead to hypovolemic shock. Almost all patients have oliguria or anuria within a few hours to as long as six days after the bite. Acute kidney damage (AKI) may require renal dialysis in some circumstances, though AKI is rarely caused by hypotension. Intravascular hemolysis, which occurs in roughly half of all instances, is the most common cause. 


In any case, antivenin medication and intravenous hydration are critical for life within hours after a saw scaled viper attack. This species' bites can be treated with at least eight different polyvalent and monovalent antivenins. 


This species venom is used in the production of several medications. Echistatin, an anticoagulant, is one of them. Although many other snake venoms include comparable toxins, echistatin is not only very strong but also has a simple structure that makes replication easy. It is acquired not only by the purification of entire venom but also as a chemically synthesised product. The major reagent of the ecarin clotting time (ECT) test, which is used to assess anticoagulation during therapy with hirudin, is ecarin, which is produced from E. carinatus venom.

Reproduction

In India, the E. carinatus population is ovoviviparous. Mating takes place in the winter in northern India, and live young are born from April to August. Births have been reported in other months on occasion. A litter of 3 to 15 young measuring 115–152 mm in length is typical. According to Mallow et al. (2003), the highest litter size is 23.


Most Echis species are oviparous, like those found in Africa, but others, like those found in India, are viviparous.

Identification of Saw Scaled Viper

  • Vertical pupils and a triangular head that is substantially larger than the neck.

  • With strongly keeled scales and a stubby tail, it has a short, sturdy body.

  • The body is a brick red hue with a zigzag design. On the saw scaled viper snake head, there is a '+' shaped design.

  • On average, they reach a height of one foot. Northern varieties are reported to grow significantly larger.

  • It resembles the common cat snake, which has a Y-shaped pattern on saw scaled viper snake head.

Did You Know?

Which Snakes Have the Most Toxic Venom?

Answer: 

  • It's critical to differentiate between snakes with the strongest venom and those that are the most dangerous to people.

  • The inland taipan in Australia has the most venom of any terrestrial snake.

  • Although the snake is estimated to contain enough venom to kill 100 men in one bite, no human deaths have been reported as a result of a bite from the species, attributable to its timid and reclusive attitude, isolated location, and the broad availability of antivenom in Australia.

  • Sea snakes are also very poisonous, though bites are uncommon due to their limited interaction with humans.

  • Humans are more seriously attacked by the less venomous but still deadly black mamba and the coastal taipan (both endemic to Australia).

  • Both snakes belong to the same family, and their venom is more potent than that of other snakes, meaning that a bitten victim can die in less than half an hour if not treated.

  • The black mamba is brown or olive, but its name comes from the colour of its mouth inside.

  • It may grow to be over 10 feet (3 metres) long and may be found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • In contrast to its inland relative, the coastal taipan is quite aggressive.

Conclusion

Saw scaled viper Echis carinatus is a poisonous viper species found in portions of the Middle East and Central Asia, particularly the Indian subcontinent. It is the smallest member of the big four snakes that is responsible for the majority of snakebite cases and deaths. It may be found in India, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan, among the countries in Central Asia where it can be found. The saw scaled viper is only found in Asia and can only be found on a variety of surfaces, including sand, rock, soft soil, and the top of the head of the skull. Echis carinatus is one of the species responsible for most snakebite incidents. Its characteristic pose, a double coil in the shape of an eight with the head poised in the middle, allows it to lash out like a released spring. The genus is considered medically relevant in many tropical rural regions. They are prevalent and reside in places with little access to contemporary medical care. The majority of victims are bitten after nightfall. In the northern parts of its range, saw scaled viper snake hibernate in winter.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q.1) What Should You Do If You're Bitten by a Snake?

Answer: 

If You or Someone Else Gets Bitten by a Snake, the NHS Recommends Taking the Following Steps:

  • Maintain your composure and seek medical help as soon as possible.

  • Remove any jewellery or watches from the affected area of the body and keep it as motionless as possible.

  • Clothing should be loosed but not removed.

None of the Following Steps Should be Attempted:

  • Removing the poison from the bite.

  • Cutting the poison out of the bite or causing it to bleed are two options.

  • Using anything to treat the wound, such as cold, heat, or chemicals.

  • Leaving the person alone.

Q.2) What Happens If You Get Bit by a Saw Scaled Viper?

Answer: The strong venom of the viper has caused such a medical concern that scientists have developed nine distinct antivenoms to combat it.


Localized swelling and discomfort, which subsequently spread, can be noticed minutes after the bite. Following closely afterwards are haemorrhage and coagulation problems, which can lead to hypovolemic shock.

Q.3) What are the Different Names of Saw Scaled Viper Snakes?

Answer: 

  • English - saw scaled viper, Indian saw scaled viper, little Indian viper.

  • Sinhala - Vali polonga

  • Odia - Dhuli Naga.

  • Pushtu - Phissi.

  • Tamil - Surattai Pambu.

  • Telugu - Chinna pinjara, Thoti pinjara

  • Sindhi - Kuppur, Janndi.

  • Marathi - Phoorsa ([फुरसं]).

  • Kannada - Kallu haavu.

  • Malayalam - Anali 

  • Gujarati - Tarachha, Zeri Padkoo.

  • Hindi - Aphai (अफई)

  • Iraqi Arabic- Said Dekhil snake.

  • Persian : Jafaree snake.

  • Bengali : Fursa boda sap

  • Tulu : Netter mugel

Q.4) Where is Found Saw Scaled Viper India?

Answer: The saw scaled viper India may be found in portions of the Middle East and Central Asia, particularly in India.


They may be found in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan on the Indian subcontinent (including Urak near Quetta and Astola Island off the coast of Makran).