Echis ocellatus, known by the common names West African carpet viper and ocellated carpet viper, is a venomous species of viper endemic to West Africa. No subspecies are currently recognized.
It is responsible for more human fatalities due to snakebite than all other African species combined. An antivenom called Echitab-plus-ICP is manufactured by the Costa Rican Instituto Clodomiro Picado and another called EchiTabG is manufactured by MicroPharm Ltd in the UK.
Othmar Stemmler described the species in 1970. It was considered a subspecies of the E. carinatus.
Common names include African saw-tailed viper, ocellated carpet viper and West African carpet viper.
The maximum total length (body + tail) is 65 cm (26 in), possibly more, while the average total length is 30–50 cm (12–20 in).
It is found in West Africa from Mauritania, Senegal and Guinea, through, Mali, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, southern Niger, and Nigeria. It is also found in northern Cameroon and southwestern Chad.
There are also reports of single specimens found in the Bangui in the Central African Republic, and in central Sudan. It is rarely found north of the 15th parallel, after which E. leucogaster becomes more common. The geographic range of E. ocellatus extends to the coast via the Dahomey Gap.
Sexually mature females lay between 6 and 20 eggs, usually at the end of the dry season in February to March. Hatchlings are 10–12 cm (3.9–4.7 in) in total length.
- List of viperine species and subspecies
- Viperinae by common name
- Viperinae by taxonomic synonyms
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- Hughes B. 1976. Notes on African Carpet Vipers, Echis carinatus, E. leucogaster and E. ocellatus (Viperidae, Serpentes). Revue Suisse de Zoologie 83 (2): 359-371.
- Stemmler O. 1970. Die Sandrasselotter aus Westafrika: Echis carinatus ocellatus subsp. nov. (Serpentes, Viperidae). Revue Suisse de Zoologie 77 (2): 273-282.