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Natural UAE

Carpet viper (Echis coloratus)

A very close relative of the rather common saw-scaled viper is the rarely seen carpet viper (Echis coloratus ) which only occurs in the mountains. With a maximum length of 70 cms, it is slightly stockier and a little more colourful than the widespread saw-scaled viper, from which it can only be distinguished by counting the rows of facial shields under its eyes. Three rows or more are specific for the carpet viper whilst the saw-scaled viper has only one row. Both animals are principally nocturnal and becoming active after dusk. They probably eat lizards and geckos, but in captivity they show a definite preference for small rodents. The carpet viper also has diagonal scales, which produce a hissing noise when it rasps the sides of its body together, and can also move in side-winding undulations if it encounters soft sand.

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