Four-lined ratsnake

This beautiful ratsnake was just coming down a concrete embankment when I saw it. I’m not sure, but it seemed like it had just shed it’s skin because it was so bright and soft. I held it for quite a while and it calmed down enough to sit quite still while I took photos. Then, when I brought the camera too close, it attacked the lens. I switched the camera to video mode to capture one of these strikes (VIDEO HERE). The snake was also “rattling” it’s tail. Obviously trying to appear more dangerous than it really was!

Reptilia: Ophidia: Colubridae: Elaphe quadrivirgata
Japanese four-lined ratsnake = shimahebi

Elaphe quadrivirgataElaphe quadrivirgataElaphe quadrivirgataElaphe quadrivirgata

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2 Responses to Four-lined ratsnake

  1. Phillip says:

    Nigel. I found your site when I was searching for mamushi on the net. Impressed by your nature photos and accompanying info. (Nice snake pictures today- I`ve seen many in Japan but never picked one up.)I`m also a fellow nature lover, though not an expert in any way. I`m also a Brit, married and living near Kashii. My wife and I like to get out hiking and camping when we can- we particularly love mountains, forests and the coasts. At Golden Week we went to Amami Oshima where we saw giant ferns, mangroves and a large array of butterflies. Also went snorkelling on the reefs there, though sad to report that nearly all the coral is dead.
    Anyway, can you recommend a good spot for snorkelling in the Munakata area? I have snorkelled most places between Itoshima and Fukuma, but with the exception of Genkai-Jima have been disappointed. Perhaps further east is better?
    Also if you fancy some company on a nature ramble you will find us ignorant but enthusiastic companions.
    Cheers Phillip and Kozue

  2. Nice photos and information on wildlife around Japan!

    I grew up catching snakes in America where I’m originally from. But I’m not that familiar with snakes around Japan. I’ve caught a few but never kept any until today. My kids have been asking for a pet for a while now and now they have a newly caught four-lined ratsnake. Are the ratsnakes here similar to the ones in America where they eat insects, mice, frogs and other snakes? If you know anything about this snake, I’d love some more info on it.

    I enjoyed reading your blog and seeing the photos. They’re very nice shots. I loved watching the ratsnake strike the video camera lens. I showed it to my son to give him an example of how a snake strikes since the one I caught didn’t.

    Keep up the good work!

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