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Common Names: Japanese Fourlined Ratsnake
Scientific Name: Elaphe quadrivirgata
First Described: BOIE, 1826

Adult Size:  90-200cm both dwarf & gigantic island forms are known
Temperament: Fast and agile, can be a bit nippy and defensive, emits a foul smelling musk when feeling threatened
Temperature & Humidity Range: Provide a thermal gradient of between 28°C (82°F) to 22°C (71°F), a humid hide and spray daily with tepid water whilst in slough.
Brumation:  47°-57° F (8°-14°C) for 2-4 months
Reproduction:  6-16 eggs are typically laid per clutch hatching from 31 to 75 days at an incubation temperature of between 25-29°C
Known Mutations:  Melanistic, Albino, Patternless,
There is much variation in this species in both colour and pattern (striping thickness) throughout its range. For instance snakes from Kunashiri usually keep their juvenile pattern, if any striping is present its faint and thin.
An albino specimen was found circa. 2006 and is in the collection of the Japanese Snake Institute.
A readily available paper on the natural variations in Elaphe quadrivirgata is available on the web ' Color variations in Elaphe quadrivirgata throughout Japan by Akira Mori et.al
Melanism is known from the dwarf population on Oshima Is, where most of the snakes exhibit this trait.
Captive Bred Localities:
Natural History:  Elaphe quadrivirgata is primarily a terrestrial species inhabiting altitudes of up to 2000m. The bio-types in which E. quadrivirgata inhabits throughout the Japanese islands are varied, from marshland, rice fields, riverbanks to grasslands and forest clearings. A wide variety of prey is taken in the wild which is somewhat dependant on the island they come from. Prey items include rodents, amphibians, birds and their eggs, lizards & snakes including their eggs, included in the species of snakes that the Japanese Fourlined Ratsnake eats is venomous species and Euprepiophis conspicillatus.
Native To: Japan Islands and adjacent Kunashir Is.

Map showing the distribution of Elaphe quadrivirgata ( Japanese Fourlined Ratsnake ) in the wild.
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SCHULZ, Klaus Dieter (ed.), 2013. Old World Ratsnakes, A collection of papers
SCHULZ, Klaus Dieter, 1996. A monograph of the Colubrid Snakes of the genus Elaphe Fitzinger.

Scale Counts:
Ventrals: 189-215
Subcaudals: 70-99
Dorsals: 19
  • Tokyo prefecture
  • Author: Tatsuhiro Tokuda - baikada.com
  • Ritual Combat
  • Author: Tatsuhiro Tokuda - baikada.com
  • Niigata prefecture - Melanistic
  • Author: Tatsuhiro Tokuda - baikada.com
  • Saitama prefecture - Morph
  • Author: Tatsuhiro Tokuda - baikada.com
  • Tochigi prefecture - Albino
  • Author: Tatsuhiro Tokuda - baikada.com
  • Hokkaido prefecture - Melanistic
  • Author: Tatsuhiro Tokuda - baikada.com
  • Tokyo prefecture
  • Author: Tatsuhiro Tokuda - baikada.com
  • Japanese Fourlined Ratsnake
  • Author: Christophe Cot

Conservation Status:
IUCN Red List: Not Listed

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This site has information on the following genera of Ratsnakes ... Spilotes, Spalerosophis, Ptyas, Zamenis, Elaphe, Rhinechis, Senticolis, Pseudelaphe, Pantherophis, Bogertophis, Orthriophis, Gonyosoma, Oreocryptophis, Oocatochus, Euprepiophis, Coelognathus, Archelaphe