Crow Snake

As I was walking past a farmer’s house, I saw this crow snake (karasu-hebi) lying in the grass at the side of the driveway. At first I thought it was probably dead because it wasn’t moving and the farmer was talking to some other people nearby, so I assumed they’d killed it. Anyway, I took a photo of the snake in the grass and it suddenly shot off, so I rushed onto the driveway and grabbed its tail. Then I carried it out into the lane and took a few photos. The people in the farm were watching me with looks of horror on their faces. I called out that it was a non-venomous karasu-hebi, but the farmer shouted that it was venomous! Obviously they have a false impression of these harmless snakes – and they presumably kill the ones they see. What a pity they wouldn’t come near me while I was holding the snake. I wanted to show them what a beautiful creature it was. I was afraid that they would kill it if I released it near the house, so I carried it up the road and released it into the forest.

Elaphe quadrivirgataElaphe quadrivirgataElaphe quadrivirgataElaphe quadrivirgata

Reptilia: Ophidia: Colubridae: Elaphe quadrivirgata
Japanese four-lined ratsnake = Crow snake (black): shimahebi = karasuhebi (black form)

3 thoughts on “Crow Snake

  1. Hi. I saw a snake like this, near my home in Kitakyushu, but I am not sure if it was this one (because it was black) or it was another like the yamakagashi. I think i saw some yellow on it but I just fled very quick from there. I am amazed with your photos.

  2. Hi there Sea Jackal,
    If it was a black snake, then it was almost certainly this species. Because of their colour and size, it’s easy to feel intimidated, but they are quite harmless and not too difficult to catch!

  3. I’ve found that a disturbing number of people in this country, who live in close proximity to snakes and should know better, are incredibly ignorant about snakes. In Honshu we only have the two venomous snakes– the pit viper and the keelback, right?
    This is a beautiful specimen, thank you for showing us these great photos.

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