A great day for snakes! I spotted the black ratsnake in the first photo at the side of the track and took a couple of photos before it slithered off into the grass. Then, only about 100m further down the road, I saw a second ratsnake in the middle of a field. It was a bit bigger than the first one — about 120cm I guess. I almost didn’t bother going into the field as I’d already got plenty of photos of this species, but it looked a bit odd — its body looked crinkly, for want of a better description. As I got nearer, I realised that it had a frog in its mouth and was in the process of unhinging its jaws to swallow the poor thing. I’m pretty pleased with the last photo in the series below. Unfortunately for the snake, and very fortunately for the frog, I got a bit too close and the snake threw the frog from its mouth before shooting off across the field. It’s incredible how fast snakes can move when they want to!

Elaphe quadrivirgataElaphe quadrivirgataElaphe quadrivirgataElaphe quadrivirgata

Reptilia: Ophidia: Colubridae:
Elaphe quadrivirgata
Japanese four-lined ratsnake = shimahebi = karasu-hebi (lit. “crow snake”)

Location: Fields near Akama in Munakata (map here)