Thu 4 May 2006
I managed to catch this Japanese Ratsnake (aodaisho) when I was hiking up the main path on Mount Kuju (Oita Prefecture), from the hot spring at Bogatsuru to the volcano summit. I just caught its tail before it escaped into the vegetation at the side of the path. Then I held it down with a stick while I manouevered my hand to just behind its head. A few other people walked past me while I was taking photos and some of them stopped to look or take pictures themselves. The woman who took the photo of me standing holding the snake was with her 10-year-old daughter, who was brave enough to touch the snake (but only for a second)! It’s non-venomous so don’t worry!
This specimen was 120cm long (from the ground to my chest) but they can grow to a length of 200cm. They are quite common and live throughout Japan. Their diet consists mainly of frogs, rodents, birds and birds’ eggs.
Reptilia: Squamata: Colubridae (namihebi):
Elaphe climacophora = Japanese Ratsnake (aodaisho)