Kagoshima: Officers Receive Habu Snake Repelling Training; Get Tips on Finding, Catching Them

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Police officers take a close look at a habu snake in Amami, Kagoshima Prefecture.

AMAMI, Kagoshima — New police officers assigned to the Amami Police Station in Kagoshima Prefecture took part in a training session to learn how to deal with venomous habu snakes. The snake inhabits five of the Amami Islands, including Amami-Oshima, Tokunoshima and Kakeromajima islands.

Last year, 37 people were bitten by snakes, causing injuries. In response to requests to capture the snakes, the Amami Police Department dispatched officers a total of 20 times.

A training session was conducted with 29 officers at a tourist center in Amami on April 1. Eiryu Motoyama of the center explained habu snake biology and how to catch them.

Motoyama told the officers, “habu are often observed on nights with a light rain, where the temperature is between 22 and 26 C” and “if you hit them on the head with a stick, they will get a concussion. But stay alert even after they stop moving because they may suddenly attack.”

Following the information session, the officers were instructed on how to capture and repel the snakes with a demonstration that included a live snake.

“I would like to calmly respond to requests to capture snakes,” said officer Rika Usukubo, 19, who joined the training session on how to repel a habu with a bamboo stick.