The carpet viper, sometimes referred to as a saw-scaled viper, is a poisonous snake found primarily in Africa and India. This reptile is known for being able to strike quickly and without warning. It is typically very venomous, so a bite can often be fatal. The snake typically has brown or gray markings which tend to camouflage the reptile, often making it difficult to notice until a person is bitten.
This snake is usually anywhere from 14.96 to 23.62 inches (38 to 60 cm) in length, but can occasionally be as long as 31.5 inches (80 cm) long. The head of a carpet viper is somewhat wider than the rest of its body. It is also flat on top with a slightly rounded snout. Scales cover the head and belly of the animal.
A carpet viper is usually gray or brown with periodic white spots on or near the head. It often has what appears to be a diamond pattern on its back, similar to that of a copperhead snake. The colorings of this reptile help it hide in the crevices of rocks or in trees. It can even bury itself in the sand, leaving only the head exposed.
More snakebites are reported from these snakes than most other venomous vipers. This is due in part to the fact that these animals are often inconspicuous, and people stumble upon them accidentally. They are quick-tempered reptiles that do not necessarily need to be provoked before striking. The snakes are extremely fast-moving, and give little or no warning that they are planning to attack.
In addition to biting often, a carpet viper carries a great deal of venom. An average snake may transmit up to 12 mg per bite. A lethal dose for a typical adult is only around 5 mg. For this reason, people who are bitten by this reptile often die before they are able to receive medical treatment.
A carpet viper usually dines on lizards, frogs, and large insects. It might also eat scorpions and centipedes if they are available. This snake does not generally seek out one type of prey over another, but rather chooses the species that are easiest to catch.
A female carpet viper carries her young inside her body until they are ready to be born. Baby snakes develop inside eggs that are hatched in the womb shortly before birth. There can be up to fifteen offspring in each litter, and most births taking place in the summer months.