The Japanese Forest Rat Snake, Elaphe conspicillata reaches 70 to 100 centimeters in length. The Japanese name, jimuguri, roughly translates to "the burrower". The Forest Rat Snake is closely related to Euprepiophis mandarinus, the Mandarin Rat Snake.
In recent years there has been some taxonomic controversy over the genera of rat snakes. Based on mitochondrial DNA, Utiger et al. (2002) argued for a splintering of the genus Elaphe and suggested a reworking of the genera.
However, all published taxonomy remains a taxonomic suggestion until ruled on by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN - http://www.iczn.org/), but the body has so far not supported the change and has not addressed the taxonomic suggestion, thus the official taxonomy remains Elaphe.
The Japanese Forest Rat Snake can be found surface active at any hour, but they most often show crepuscular activity patterns. The Forest Rat Snake may completely cease surface activity from mid-late summer when conditions become too hot and/or dry. Principal prey items are small rodents, and the snakes often use the rodent burrows for shelter.
As the common names suggest, this species is fossorial, and is normally associated with forested areas. Occurs from sea level to at least 3000m.