Saw-Scaled Viper Bite: Why it has Enough Venom to Kill 6 Humans & How to Treat It

Written by August Croft
Published: April 29, 2022
© sushil kumudini chikane/Shutterstock.com
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Located in parts of the Middle East and Central Asia, the saw-scaled viper bite is particularly potent and powerful. Also known as the carpet viper, this unassuming viper is capable of killing six humans with a single bite, but how much venom does a saw-scaled viper have, and how exactly do you treat a bite of this nature? 

In this article, we will address everything you need to know about the bite of the saw-scaled viper, including how much venom it can inject in a single bite. We will also discuss the hunting style and technique of the snake, including how it behaves around humans. Let’s get started and talk about this snake in detail now! 

Why is the Saw-Scaled Viper Bite So Powerful?

saw-scaled viper bite
The amount of venom that this snake injects is far lower than most other venomous snakes- it may in fact be the lowest amount compared to the other “big four” venomous snakes in India.

©Vladislav T. Jirousek/Shutterstock.com

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The primary reason that the saw-scaled viper bite is so powerful is because of its potency. The amount of venom that this snake injects is far lower than most other venomous snakes- it may in fact be the lowest amount compared to the other “big four” venomous snakes in India. However, it can still kill 6 people with a single bite, an impressive feat for such a small snake!

Another reason why the bite from this particular viper is so dangerous is because of its aggression and general positioning when confronted. This snake camouflages very well in its natural environment and is often stumbled upon by accident. This leaves the saw-scaled viper to leap from its coiled position and bite quickly and efficiently. 

How Much Venom Does a Saw-Scaled Viper Bite Have?

saw-scaled viper bite
To put things into perspective, the saw-scaled viper has a maximum yield of 70 mg of venom in a single bite, and the average person only needs 5 mg to be fatally wounded. 

©sushil kumudini chikane/Shutterstock.com

We’ve already mentioned that the saw-scaled viper bite only has a limited amount of venom in it, but how much exactly does it use on average, and how does this compare to other venomous snakes? To put things into perspective, the saw-scaled viper has a maximum yield of 70 mg of venom in a single bite, and the average person only needs 5 mg to be fatally wounded. 

Given the fact that this snake bites with a minimum of 10 mg, even the weakest and least potent bite is enough to kill at least two people. Plus, when you consider the overall aggression and location of this particular snake, it is worth leaving alone if you ever happened to see it in the wild! To be fair, this should be said of all venomous snakes, regardless of how potent their venom is. 

Do Saw-Scaled Vipers Bite Repeatedly?

saw-scaled viper bite
Given the overall aggression levels of the saw-scaled viper, it is very possible that they behave in this way when sensing an extreme threat or are surprised in any way.

©RealityImages/Shutterstock.com

There’s very little evidence to suggest that the saw-scaled viper bites repeatedly when it is threatened. However, given the overall aggression levels of the saw-scaled viper, it is very possible that they behave in this way when sensing an extreme threat or are surprised in any way. 

Like most other vipers, the saw-scaled viper chooses to inject venom into its prey or perceived threats and slither away, allowing the bitten animal to die on its own. Most vipers behave in this way, which suggests that the saw-scaled viper isn’t likely to bite more than once. However, it is difficult to say with this particularly violent and quick-moving species!

What Animals Do Saw-Scaled Vipers Hunt?

Saw-scaled vipers are particularly opportunistic eaters, often inhabiting a variety of populated areas. They prefer to hunt and eat the following animals: 

  • Rodents
  • Scorpions
  • Centipedes
  • Other large bugs
  • Lizards
  • Frogs
  • Other amphibians

An interesting fact about the saw-scaled viper is that it is primarily nocturnal, as well as more active after heavy rainfall and on humid evenings. These snakes frequently hide themselves in trees and bushes during active moments of rain, and this is one of the most dangerous times to accidentally stumble upon a saw-scaled viper. 

How Do Saw-Scaled Vipers Interact with Humans?

saw-scaled viper bite
Just like all other snakes, the saw-scaled viper prefers to be left alone at all times, though it won’t hesitate to defend itself if it perceives a threat. 

©Dan_Koleska/Shutterstock.com

Despite lacking a large amount of venom and general potency compared to the other big four venomous snakes in India, the saw-scaled viper is particularly dangerous for humans. This is because of the saw-scaled viper’s ability to hide itself and camouflage well in a variety of natural habitats. 

Unfortunately, many of these habitats reside close to populated areas throughout the Middle East and Asia, often putting this viper in unfortunate situations with humans. Just like all other snakes, the saw-scaled viper prefers to be left alone at all times, though it won’t hesitate to defend itself if it perceives a threat. 

Not only does this snake frequently adopt a position that allows it to strike in a quick and springing fashion, it also utilizes the sidewinder technique of moving along the ground. This makes the snake particularly fast and agile, capable of moving into and out of confrontation with unpredictable ease. This is just one of many reasons to avoid interacting with a saw-scaled viper at all costs! 

How Do You Treat a Saw-Scaled Viper Snake Bite?

saw-scaled viper bite
Sochurek’sCarpet Viper, Echis carinatus sochureki in the Desert National Park. These snakes have a small, pear-shaped head on a narrow neck, a short round snout and round, large eyes.

©RealityImages/Shutterstock.com

Just like all other venomous snake bites, it is important to seek medical attention immediately if you think you have been bitten by a saw-scaled viper. The venom from this particular snake is extremely potent and has a number of adverse effects on the body, including hemorrhaging and dehydration. Keep in mind that this snake is one of the big four snakes responsible for the majority of snake bites in India, and for good reason. 

However, with all of this in mind, the mortality rate for this snake and its bites are fairly low. This is because there are a number of antivenoms that have been produced thanks to dedicated snake experts and researchers. However, antivenom is necessary within hours of being bitten to ensure survival and a healthy recovery. 

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The Featured Image

Carpet Viper, Echis carinatus carinatus, in India. They have short tails and earth tone coloration.
Carpet Viper, Echis carinatus carinatus, in India. They have short tails and earth tone coloration.
© sushil kumudini chikane/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I am a non-binary freelance writer working full-time in Oregon. Graduating Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre and a specialization in creative writing, I have an invested interest in a variety of topics, particularly Pacific Northwest history. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping along the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my home kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast iron skillet.

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