Snake Season

In the past four days, I have already seen 3 snakes. One I spotted on the road, smashed (most likely when it was sunning itself) and attracting flies. I saw two yesterday in Saga-ken. The first one I saw when I was visiting Kannon no taki (Kannon waterfall) in Nanayama-mura (Seven mountain village). I jumped over a rock, and it quickly slithered away under some dead branches. Not feeling quite Irwin enough, I decided not to reach in the tangled foliage and to let it be. Instead, I checked out the awesome waterfalls. If you are passing through Saga-ken, this place is worth a visit.
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Anyhow, Kuniko spotted this snake (at Kashibaru Shikken, or Saga Marshlands, North of the Nagasaki Expressway on a small road that shortcuts the 323 toward Nanayama. if you can make it here around August, you should be able to see a beautiful flower called the Sagisou that looks like a bird in flight. this is a prime wetland habitat, a rare find in Japan and the biodiversity is much more apparent and colorful than the vernal pools of Santa Barbara), that remained absolutely still, well camoflauged among the dried foliage. I was able to get really close to it, and finally learned how to use the macros function on my digicam (thanks for the prodding, Justin):
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Kuniko thought it was dead, and so I was obligated to show her otherwise. I grabbed its tail, and it whipped its body two feet away from me in a split second. After I grabbed it again, it started rattling the dried leaves with the tip of its tail in the manner of a rattle snake, and then bolted into a well concealed rathole. I don’t think this snake was poisonous, but can’t say for sure since I was not bitten.
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According to the Japanese snake guide, this appears to be a Japanese four-lined snake, or Shima-hebi. I don’t know why I have this compulsion to play with the snakes that I encounter. All that I can say is that it’s fun (until I get bitten/envenomated I suppose).

One thought on “Snake Season”

  1. Cool snake pics, Adam. There’s a new program on Discovery, “Venom ER”, that I’m taping for you because it’s absolutely fascinating/shocking/sad.
    Loma Linda Hospital has the best snakebite specialists in California so rattlesnake victims are flown in daily. Very gruesome, up-front documentation of how a happy day out in nature can get turned into the worst day of your life! Of course a lot of this is also because of constant building of immense tracts of homes out in prime rattler territory, like Chino Hills, the worst area for Mojave rattlers….or is it the Southern Pacific rattler? Anyways, it’s good to be very careful, because lots of guys get accidentally tagged by playing with snakes!

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