Kurils/Kunashir: Island Poloz Snake
Island Poloz aka Elaphe climacophora in Latin is a rare non-poisonous snake that lives only on Kunashir Island and is in the Russia’s Red Book of endangered species. A slightly different subspecies lives in northern Japan and is known as Japanese Rat Snake. Somehow, we came across them twice in two different habitats – in the trees and in the rocks. The snake is about 1.5 meter long and changes color from brown-yellow to greenish-blue as they grow older. They are excellent swimmers and even better climbers as evident by the two individuals who climbed trees and vertical rocks just in front of my camera with absolute ease. And for those afraid of snakes – get over it – these are beautiful and fragile animals and almost never attack unless disturbed. Besides, the Poloz snake is completely non-poisonous although it can theoretically inflict a bite.