Elaphe dione

(Dione´s Ratsnake)

Elaphe dione female
Elaphe dione female Kazachstan

Elaphe dione can be found from Ukraine to western China and South Korea. It is one of the smaller ratsnakes and is seldom found larger than 100 cm. It inhabits many different biotops up to 3500 m above sealevel.  They are not as brigtly colored as many other ratsnakes. Normally they are brown or grey with darker blotches on the back, but melanistic animals has been found in some populations. The most colorful animals are found in the eastern part of their distribution.

Elaphe dione from Eastern China copulation

This ratsnake is not so often seen in captivity. It is very easy to keep and breed. It preys on smaller rodents, lizards and eggs. Even a mix of chopped food like freshwaterfish, eggs, rodents and chickens are often accepted. This can be frozen in cubes and served on a plate. 

Elaphe dione laying eggs
Elaphe dione is not the best climber, and will normally be found on the bottom of the terrarium. The temperature should be about 25 - 28*C. A long hibernation is not mandatory for breeding, but natural. Copulations take place in the Spring and sometimes again in the Autum. The eggs hatch after only 2 weeks at a temperature of 27*C, but if they develob at a lower temperature the juveniles are bigger and stronger. The juveniles accept newborn mice after their first shedding and can be mature in less than 2 years.
Dione eggs hatching
Hatchling male


We have kept dione from '4 km N. Village Tschernjaevka, at river Kalgyr (Kalgir), E.
Kazachstan (N 48° 41,984'; E 85°02,410'), 218-327 m altitude' and also a reddish form from Eastern China.